All-Star fans flocked to S.F. in record numbers

If attendance at FanFest is anything like the rest of All-Star weekend, The City had a very good weekend — better than, say, the National League All-Stars.

Major League Baseball announced Wednesday that FanFest, a collection of exhibits, memorabilia, autograph signings and interactive games for all ages, and Tuesday’s red-carpet parade both set attendance records for the events.

More than 125,000 people ventured to the Moscone Center for FanFest between July 6 and July 10; more than 50,000 lined The Embarcadero to cheer on the All-Stars during the parade to AT&T Park, according to Major League Baseball.

During last year’s All-Star Game festivities in Pittsburgh, only 106,000 fans attended FanFest and more than 40,000 took in the red-carpet parade, according to the MLB.

Official statistics for the total number of visitors to The City and the economic impact on the area are not yet known, but estimates before the weekend said the event would bring in from $60 million to $65 million in extra revenue to city businesses.

Officials said reports about FanFest were good indicators of a successful weekend for The City.

Part of the benefit of conducting events such as FanFest and the red-carpet parade, in conjunction with the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game, is that they draw in visitors to The City from around the country and the Bay Area, said Carol Piasente, vice president of communications for the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

Kevin Westlye, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, said he thought FanFest benefited the “everyday fan” who might otherwise not have the cash or influence to obtain tickets to the All-Star Game.

“I think the FanFest brought a lot of people in that might not have ordinarily participated in the All-Star weekend,” Westlye said.

But in what some might consider an unlikely disconnect, the crowds did not translate into a hectic weekend for the San Francisco police. Authorities and the San Francisco Giants organization did, however, come across something unusual for a big-time athletic event: no counterfeit tickets, Sgt. Steve Mannina said.

San Francisco police arrested 23 ticket scalpers, Mannina said, and 19 people on charges of trademark infringements, or selling counterfeit materials such as T-shirts or hats.

Police also confiscated $75,000 worth of counterfeit merchandise, he said.

dsmith@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

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