Garth Brooks Heinz Field concert to bring in millions to Pittsburgh economy |

Garth Brooks Heinz Field concert to bring in millions to Pittsburgh economy

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Workers ready the venue at Heinz Field for the upcoming Garth Brooks Concert on Wednesday, May 15, 2019.
Artist of the decade award winner Garth Brooks performs at the iHeartRadio Music Awards on Thursday, March 14, 2019, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. Brooks plays a sold-out Heinz Field May 18.

Garth Brooks is bringing more than just his legendary sound to Pittsburgh on Saturday night.

Hotels, bars, restaurants, merchants and laborers will hear the ring of cash registers all weekend.

“We had a special meeting about this concert,” said Bob Page, director of sales and marketing for the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh’s Downtown. “We wanted to make sure we have enough workers this week. It’s pretty exciting. You will see a lot of people walking around Pittsburgh wearing cowboy boots.”

The hotel has been sold out for months. The day the concert was announced, the phones started ringing, Page said.

“We saw a flood of reservations,” said Page. “The last time Garth Brooks was in town it was the same response. As he added shows, the hotel filled up.”

When Brooks was in Pittsburgh in 2015 for a series of six shows at Consol Energy Center, his concerts generated more than $650,000 in taxes and fees for Pittsburgh.

“Brooks has followers all over the world. People go to where he is. This show is really a boom for the economy,” Page said.

Fans in Pennsylvania purchased more than 40% of the tickets sold to the Brooks’ show Saturday, according to box office information. Ohio accounted for nearly 12%. Fans in California purchased nearly 7% of the tickets, slightly more than West Virginian fans. And there could be a couple of thousand fans from Texas as 3% of tickets were purchased by Lone Star state residents

Nick Sero, a Heinz Field spokesman, said Brooks’ show on Saturday could bring in $10 million or more in direct spending.

A home regular season game for the Steelers brings in an estimated $9.5 million in direct spending to the city, Sero said. This show is expected to top that amount.

Sero said they haven’t had any impact studies done on concerts but it is being considered for this one. The NHL’s Winter Classic in 2017 brought in $22 million, and a Steelers playoff game typically generates $20 million in spending, Sero said.

The largest audience ever at Heinz Field — between 73,000 to 75,000 people are expected — will pack in for the concert. This week, truck after truck made its way through the North Shore to bring the stage to life for the performance.

There will be more than 2,000 union members working round the clock for days at Heinz Field this week, said Jimmy Sacco, vice-president of stadium operations and management for Heinz Field. Sacco has been planning for Saturday for more than nine months.

“Garth Brooks coming to perform at Heinz Field extends to parking lots and hotels and restaurants,” said Darrin Kelly president of the Allegheny County Labor Council, which coordinates the setup for all major events in this area. “Millions of dollars will go into the local economy this weekend. Fans will eat and drink and shop and sleep here.”

Kelly said the workers do everything from helping with stage set up to deliveries of trucks to general labor needed for the show. Being part of putting together the background for such a huge event is rewarding for the workers, Kelly said.

“When Garth comes out for that first song and you see it all come together that is really exciting,” he said. “It’s like a well-oiled machine. It’s picture perfect.”

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 412-320-7889, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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