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Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Attracts Tourists' Dollars To Region

Visitors queue up to get into the Connor Theater at the Rock Hall [Mark Urycki / ideastream]

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame officials say the museum’s visitors are providing a healthy economic boost to the county. The hall attracted 568,000 tourists last year, the most since 1995, when it opened.    

The Rock Hall commissioned a study of the museum’s economic impact and it found that tourists came, they saw, and they spent.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum CEO Greg Harris says their attendance has increased by double digits the last 3 years.

 That spending by all Rock Hall visitors added up to an estimated $349,000 a day. And Rock Hall CEO Greg Harris says those visitors weren’t just passing by. 

“Sixty percent of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame visitors, their reason for visiting Cleveland, is to come to the Rock Hall,” Harris said. “Now the hope is that when they come here they also go to the art museum, or the West Side Market, or to an Indians game or something else.”

That’s what Al and Carol Bensley of Rochester New York are thinking. They usually speed through Cleveland on their way to visit their children in Chicago, but this time they spent two nights in a hotel to visit the Rock Hall.

“Typically we’re probably 75 mph on 480 going east or west.” said Al. “But because this was here, and now that I see a maritime museum, a science museum, and things like that - as I get a little older - 630 miles I may not want to tackle. Cleveland is right dead center.  It’d be a good spot to stop and look around some more.”

Like the Bensley's, 80 percent of the Rock Hall visitors come from outside Cuyahoga County. They spent a total of $127 million in town last year, according to the study. Greg Harris notes, that’s more than it cost to build the museum.

“You know the initial build here, the $92 million, there was a lot of public money involved and when you see these types of results, it’s encouraging because it does suggest that these things do have a return. It’s not a one-way street. It does create jobs. It creates revenue and it has an impact on the region,” Harris said.

Next month, Cleveland will host the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies and that week alone, said Greg Harris, is enough to generate more than $16 million and worldwide press attention.