CINCINNATI — Taylor Swift is coming to Cincinnati next weekend, and her two-night Eras Tour stop is set to draw more than 130,000 people to Paycor Stadium to sing and dance to three hours of tunes, such as “Shake It Off” and “Karma.”

While the event is going to be a memorable night for Swift’s fans, or Swifties as they refer to themselves, it’s also going to be a huge weekend for greater Cincinnati-area businesses.

What You Need To Know

  • Taylor Swift's pair of Cincinnati concerts could generate roughly $48 million in spending for the region, per the Cincinnati Chamber

  • The sold-out shows will draw around 130,000 people downtown, but thousands of others may visit the area to "Taygate"

  • At least 95% of hotel rooms in Cincinnati and Northern will be full over the weekend

  • Three Reds games, an FC Cincinnati match and other entertainment could bump that north of $90 million

The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber estimates Swift’s Friday and Saturday performances have the potential to generate $48 million in direct spending and economic activity for the region. That figure includes the cost of tickets, airfare, transportation, parking, food, drink, and retail purchases.

About $20 million of that figure stems from expected out-of-town concertgoers, according to Brandon Rudd, director of the chamber’s Center for Research and Data. He said more than $28 million would come from Swift fans from across the greater Cincinnati area.

Average spending for out-of-town guests is estimated at $1,550 per person, and for in-town guests at $974 per person, Rudd said.

Scott Allison and his fiancée are making the seven-hour drive to Cincinnati from their home in Traverse City, Mich., to see Swift perform live. He’s going with a group of four other friends, but he knows at least three other groups of six who plan to attend as well.

Swift's sold-out shows will draw more than 130,000 people to Paycor Stadium, and possibly even more to downtown.
Swift's sold-out shows will draw more than 130,000 people to Paycor Stadium, and possibly even more to downtown.

“We’re all going to try to spend as much time as we can downtown on Saturday and exploring, even if it’s just to avoid traffic,” he said with a chuckle.

The couple has roots in the Queen City and plans to arrive on Thursday or Friday, Allison said. They’d like to catch a Cincinnati Reds game.

The Reds — one of the hottest teams in baseball — have a three-game series against the San Diego Padres during what’s been dubbed Taylor Swift weekend.

To accommodate the crowds, Major League Baseball decided to bump up the start time for Friday night’s game by two hours to break up traffic congestion related to Swift’s concert.

The Reds also have early afternoon games on Saturday and Sunday. MLS-leading FC Cincinnati also has a game on Saturday. The concerts and those sporting events could have an economic impact of upward of $92 million in spending for the region, according to the Cincinnati Chamber.

Brendon Cull, president and CEO of the Cincinnati Chamber, said the region is “uniquely positioned to attract and accommodate” weekends like the upcoming one and attract people from cities across the region.

About 20 million people live within 200 miles of Cincinnati.

“[V]isitors will see that Cincinnati is a world-class city that can concurrently support several large events,” he added.

The Cincinnati Chamber is assuming at least a 95% occupancy for regional hotels in southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky. Rudd described that as a conservative estimate based on what they’ve seen in other cities.

“We absolutely believe it could be higher than that,” he added.

Julie Calvert, president and CEO of Visit Cincy, said the concerts present the city with an opportunity to create an “amazing experience” that will “benefit the region well beyond this weekend.”

Most of the spending will be seen in the downtown and riverfront areas, but she believes businesses in other parts of the region will experience revenue boosts as well.

To welcome guests, Visit Cincy partnered with MeetNKY on several “welcoming” gestures, including creating special Taylor Swift-themed events and promotions and special events throughout the weekend.

The Cincinnati Sign on the side of the Duke Energy Center will also be illuminated lavender for the Taylor Swift concert. It’s an homage to Swift’s song “Lavender Haze.”

“This (is) a unique draw for the Cincinnati region for our hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues, women and minority-owned businesses, who no doubt will benefit from visitors — local, Midwestern and Southern regions combined,” she added.

A portion of the $48 million figure reflects the number of ticket sales that will stay and circulate within the Cincinnati economy, Rudd said. But he noted that there would be a portion of ticket sales revenue that "leaks" out into the national economy instead of staying here.

Additionally, the shows could generate nearly $3.8 million in tax revenue, per the Chamber. That includes $1.6 million in local taxes, $1.4 million in state taxes and $750,000 in federal taxes.

Lily McDonald is heading to the concert on Friday night with five other people. That includes two people from Dayton and her sister, who’s driving in from Cleveland.

McDonald, who lives in Covington, Ky., doesn’t expect anyone in her group to need to stay in a hotel. But she’s taking a half-day at work, and her group plans to hang out around downtown and The Banks before the concert.

“We know everything is going to be slammed,” McDonald, 29, said with a chuckle. “Without a reservation or anything, we’re just going to bounce around to a few different places, maybe some smaller spots or places we wouldn’t normally go, and just pregame for Taylor.”

The chamber determined its projections based on what’s taken place in other cities. In Chicago, for instance, Soldier Field saw an estimated 190,000 people over the course of a three-night run, per a report from NBC Chicago.

The expectation is Paycor Stadium should have about 65,000 people per night for each sold-out show, Rudd said. 

But the Cincinnati Chamber expects a lot of additional people to come into town just to be near the stadium and hang out before and during the concert, Rudd said. Swift fans have been known to do something called “Taygate,” where they set up outside outdoor venues where she performs before and during the concert.

Rudd said he knows several people planning to do that.

If you look at some of the other cities where Taylor Swift has performed, like Pittsburgh, for example, tens of thousands of fans stood outside that stadium just to try and hear her show, noted Eileen Osborne, senior communications manager for Visit Cincy.

“It is not far-fetched to say we should expect something like that to happen here in Cincinnati,” she added.

The Cincinnati Chamber didn’t factor that into the economic analysis since they couldn’t accurately project how many people might show up, Rudd said.

“The theme here is that we tried to be as conservative as possible with our calculations,” he added. “We wanted to have a credible number and not inflate the impact. I feel very strongly that we have arrived at a total that should be considered a lower bound for what the potential impact could be.”

Calvert stressed that the upcoming weekend is the result of the foresight of regional leaders to invest in projects like The Banks and the development of Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. She referred to Swift’s upcoming concerts as potentially “transformational event(s)” that can spur continued regional growth.

“Cincinnati is ready to welcome both Taylor Swift and all the Swifties with an amazing experience,” she added.