ST. LOUIS — The Cardinals season opener is nearly here, and tens of thousands of fans will make their way to downtown St. Louis for the unofficial holiday everyone has been waiting for.

Ballpark Village Chief Revenue Officer Mike LaMartina said his team and businesses in the area are ready for games to be played and to get paid.

“We know baseball is critical and millions of visitors into our area and the financial implications associated that it all means a lot and we’re looking forward to seeing it happen with the start on Thursday,” LaMartina said.

He said it’s the first normal home opener since 2019 and the start of a big weekend for sports fans in the region.

“We know there will be a lot of volume in this first homestand, with the Blues at home for a four-game stretch, the Cardinals at home, and motocross at The Dome. There could be 100,000 people downtown on Saturday and hotel room volume that’s anticipated justifies that too,” LaMartina said.

Explore St. Louis Chief Marketing Officer Brian Hall agreed.

“Saturday night the 9th of April we’re going to have 100,000 people in downtown St. Louis, and it is just huge for tourism,” Hall said.

He said Opening Day and the following events through the weekend come at a great time after a challenging past two years.

“It’s feet on the street it’s heads in beds. It’s certainly supporting our bars, restaurants, and entertainment establishments throughout the community and our area attractions,” Hall said.

Safety is also a concern. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department said it has a traffic plan in place to ensure traffic flow.

Officers will be working throughout the day to ensure visibility and enforce any violations that may occur.

“It’s our job to help assure folks that they’re going to have a safe and entertaining experience. At the same time, we don’t want the critical masses being subject to things we can do our best to control,” LaMartina said.

Hall added: “The fact is there’s going to be so many people out having a good time I think you’re going to feel the energy you’re going to feel the excitement and you’re going to feel safe.”