Kobe affair good for business? | VailDaily.com

Kobe affair good for business?

Cliff Thompson

In strict capitalistic terms, one good thing emerging from the media circus surrounding the Kobe Bryant affair is additional summer business for local establishments.

More than 150 members of the national media descended upon Eagle County last week to await news of whether criminal charges would be filed against the NBA superstar by District Attorney Mark Hurlbert.

They topped off hotel bookings from Eagle to Edwards, rented cars, purchased meals and added plenty to the local economy. If each member of the media spent $150 per day on food, transportation and lodging, for example, that was $22,500 per day added to the economy.

“Sold out on weekdays’

“Normally we’re sold out on weekends, but for the last two weeks we’ve been sold out on weekdays, too,” said Bill Macfarlane of the Inn at Riverwalk in Edwards.

Macfarlane said reporters from Fox and CBS stayed at his 59-room hotel. Most of the reporters appeared this week to hear Hurlbert’s pronouncement, but a few have been here since news broke July 6 of Bryant’s Independence Day arrest.

At Eagle’s Best Western, the overflow of media absorbed what might normally have been unused rooms, said General Manager Glenn Lowe.

There was definitely an increase in business,” he said. “This time of year, through August 15 is the best season at this end of the valley.”

That’s also the story at Eagle’s Comfort inn, where Owner Karol Sobczak said his business was up slightly, too.

While most members of the media departed this weekend, they’ll reappear, perhaps in even greater numbers by Aug. 6, when Bryant is scheduled to appear in Eagle County District Court to be advised of his rights on a felony sexual-assault charge.

Macfarlane said the media already has reserved rooms at his hotel beginning Aug. 2.


Eagle County also got plenty of national television time on national and international broadcast networks and newspapers. Whether that’s an economic plus or a minus is arguable.

One thing that isn’t arguable may be the impact the charges will have on the marketability of the NBA’s brightest star. Bryant recently signed a $45 million endorsement contract with Nike. Experts say the incident in Eagle County could cost him millions in endorsement revenue. Bryant, according to one survey of sports figures, ranked third in marketability nationally behind Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan.

Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555 ext 450 or cthompson@vaildaily.com.

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