Melbourne hosted the first Grand Slam of 2024, and the Victorian economy is seeing a flurry of economic activity. Small and large businesses in the hospitality industry in Melbourne’s CBD and beyond could see a significant boost.

The Mastercard Economics Institute (MEI) analysed spending behaviour during the Grand Slam in 2023 as a guide to what may be expected this year. MEI shows the biggest spending boost was in accommodation, with the spend in hotels in the CBD and neighbouring areas increasing by 13% due to the tournament in 2023.

Underscoring the impact on retailers, Mastercard’s SpendingPulse estimates that Melbourne retailers, especially those in experience and fashion-related sectors, are likely to see an increase in sales in 2024. Compared to the two weeks preceding the competition, total retail sales (excluding auto) are tipped to grow 12.6% driven by in-store sales of apparel, restaurants and accommodation.

Tennis fans chose to eat close to Melbourne Park during the event, with the share of in-person spend in restaurants & bars (excluding quick service restaurants) in the CBD neighbourhood increasing 1.2% versus the share of spend over the remainder of Q1 2023.

Digital and online modes of payments, such as mobile wallets and app-based food delivery services, also add an incremental boost to small businesses, with QSRs surging in online spend. Share of online spending at QSRs in the CBD was 2.2% higher versus the remainder of Q1 2023.

Mondays saw the most check-outs during the event in 2023 as fans stayed over the weekend to make the most of the tournament. During the remainder of the quarter, Wednesdays and Thursdays were the more popular days for check-outs, likely driven by business travellers.

Breakfast and lunch spend in QSRs outperformed during the event compared to the rest of Q1 2023, with breakfast on weekdays gaining popularity during the event. Restaurants & bars, excluding QSRs, were more popular during lunch and evenings after the matches, with the beginning of the week seeing a higher share of spend in the CBD areas for lunch during the match days in 2023.

The impact of the tournament was felt beyond the central business districts as tennis fever led to increased spend in prominent shopping malls and eateries in the suburbs. Shoppers flocked to Waverly Gardens and Springvale for retail therapy. Spending on sporting goods, apparel and footwear outperformed the most in Waverly Gardens, improving by 3.7% versus the rest of Q1 2023.

Eateries that emerged in residential neighbourhoods thanks to hybrid work trends saw a higher share of spend during the tournament than the rest of the quarter, as fans chose these popular bistros to connect over a meal. Restaurants & bars, excluding QSRs, in Garden City, an affluent residential area southwest of Melbourne CBD, saw an additional increase only second to what was seen in the CBD during the event in 2023 versus the rest of Q1 2023. 

Small businesses serving breakfast and lunch in Box Hill saw the benefits of consumers hitting the local high street, with in-person spend at QSRs higher during the tournament in 2023 than in previous years.