LeBron James' Return to Cleveland Projects to Bring in $500 Million for City

Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistJuly 15, 2014

Fans whoop it up behind an ESPN reporter outside Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, after NBA basketball star LeBron James announced he would return to the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday, July 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Mark Duncan/Associated Press

The Cavaliers will certainly benefit from signing LeBron James, but the city of Cleveland will also receive a boost from the superstar's homecoming.

County Executive Ed FitzGerald expects James' return to bring in a lot of revenue for the city, according to Bloomberg.com's Mark Niquette: "The return of the star forward to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers will have a $500 million a year impact on the local economy, with a boost from additional ticket sales and other spending."

Cavaliers games alone are estimated to bring in about $268 million, according to calculations done by the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Office. Attendance at Quicken Loans Arena has dropped off since James left in 2010, but ESPN.com's Darren Rovell reported that the team has already sold all of its season tickets.

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 11:  Fans in downtown Cleveland don their #23 LeBron James jerseys and celebrate shortly after he announced his return to the Cleveland Cavaliers on July 11, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agree
David Liam Kyle/Getty Images

The Cavs will certainly be generating more money, but they won't be the only ones who see an increase in revenue.

“It generates real money for the local economy,” FitzGerald told Niquette.

CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 11:  Billboards light up signaling the return of LeBron James to the Cleveland Cavaliers after a short 'detour' on July 11, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or usin
David Liam Kyle/Getty Images

Here are some more details on how the city will be impacted:

Other spending increases will come at restaurants, convention business and hotels, FitzGerald said. Anticipated benefits include a $34 million increase in annual spending by fans at games to $170 million a year plus 500 additional jobs supported by the Cavaliers, the county said.

That's not a bad deal for bringing in one player.

The Cavaliers are definitely the biggest winners from James' return to Ohio, but the city of Cleveland will be in better shape as well.