Apr 10, 2024 - News

Cleveland basks in spotlight of eclipse, women's Final Four

Fans at the Cleveland Guardians game take in the eclipse.

Fans at the Guardians' home opener take in the eclipse. Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images

It lasted only three minutes and 50 seconds, but Monday's total solar eclipse capped one of the biggest stretches of tourism in Cleveland's history.

The big picture: All eyes were on Northeast Ohio last weekend between the eclipse and the NCAA women's Final Four, with the Wall Street Journal calling Cleveland "The New Center of the World."

Why it matters: Destination Cleveland estimated the Final Four on Friday and Sunday and the eclipse on Monday would bring a combined 200,000-plus visitors to town with an economic impact of more than $50 million.

The latest: The tourism group told Axios it won't have official totals on visitors and impact until at least July.

By the numbers: Both days of the Final Four drew sell-out crowds of 18,200 people to Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, according to the Cavaliers. An open practice on Saturday attracted more than 11,000.

  • The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame did not release specific numbers for its SolarFest, but said Thursday through Monday was likely its best five-day stretch in terms of attendance since the museum opened in 1995.
  • The Guardians' home opener was also Monday, drawing a sellout crowd of nearly 35,000 people to a renovated Progressive Field.

The big picture: Sunday's NCAA championship broadcast between South Carolina and Iowa — which featured numerous shots of downtown — averaged 18.7 million viewers, the most in women's basketball history.

What they're saying: "Being on the path of totality for the solar eclipse has and will continue to deliver big benefits to our tourism economy," David Gilbert, CEO of Destination Cleveland, said in a statement.

  • "Events like this put us in the national media conversation and generate word-of-mouth recommendations — that's marketing we can't pay for."

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