PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Cliff Lee’s return to the Phillies could be a boon for efforts to bring other major sporting events to Philadelphia.

With the pitching ace (above) taking a pass on bigger bucks from the Big Apple, it put a cool $50 million on the value of the Philadelphia fans and the region’s draw.

“I don’t think that FIFA’s going to be reconsidering the World Cup coming to Philadelphia and the US, but maybe they’ll say, well, if it’s good enough for Cliff Lee…”

Larry Needle heads the Philadelphia Sports Congress and says Lee’s decision will have a ripple effect:

“When you have meeting and event planners around the country and around the world, really, deciding where they’re bringing their next activity, and something like this is out there, and somebody says, ‘Hey — they’re choosing Philadelphia over anywhere else,” said Needle.

dear clif v2 Lees Decision Could Bode Well For Philly, Says Sports MarketerMeanwhile, the people behind those Philly “love letter” advertisements are pouring out their hearts to Lee and to the team that won him back (right).

“Dear Phillies Brass: Are You Santa?” one reads. “With love, Philadelphia XOXO. PS: Welcome home Cliff.”

Meryl Levitz, CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, says they love him $50 million worth and more for giving the city another reason to celebrate.

“He and his family really like the place,” said Levitz. “That says a whole lot — you can’t get a bigger testimonial than that.”

Reported by Ian Bush, KYW Newsradio.

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