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04-20-2013, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by CasualFan View Post
The "save Westgate" stuff is just more mindless hyperbole from the mountain of excrement produced by the city on the Coyotes subsidy.

There is simply no evidence that arenas are economic engines to begin with. The seminar at Marquette that generated the Leipold quote offered even more academic research showing that "public financing of sports facilities never generates an economic return". The study " ... failed to uncover a single case of a professional sports team boosting its host community's economy."

Of course, these academic studies are in conflict with the reports produced by consultants that project huge economic gains from teams. But then again, no academic researcher has ever been brought up on federal fraud charges for intentionally misrepresenting arena returns. Whereas, Glendale consultant Tom L Hocking has.

However, from a political perspective, working with a pro sports franchise equals headlines, trips to NYC, and networking with millionaires. As long as you have the moral flexibility of an Ed Beasley and you are spending someone else's money to do it, there's probably some appeal to that. There's no dinner in Manhattan for keeping the public library open...
To piggyback on what CF said, I encourage people to read Chaper 12 in Soccernomics if they want more information on the economic impact of stadiums and arenas. The biggest reason why they don't generate the expected economic impact is that people don't go to areas surrounding the sports venues unless there is an event. If Arena is open for an event 65 nights a year, what is the surrounding area doing the other 300 nights a year? It's not getting the needed customers, that's for sure. A good anchor tenant, like a department store, will draw people in every day. A restaurant or the other stores need a consistent flow of customers to keep it's doors open. Restaurants may make most of their profit on Friday and Saturday, when most people go out to dinner, but it needs enough customers Sunday through Thursday to break even those days.

In addition, I see the master plan for Westgate was going to have some residential units. The problem with this is no one wants to live next to a sports venue. They bring in a lot noise and traffic on game nights. Generally, people want to be about 10-15 minutes away. Close to get there in a short time, far enough away that you don't have to deal with the noise and traffic if you aren't attending an event.

Now there are valid reasons to build sports venues for reasons that are more than economic. Modern sports venues bring better events and experiences to a local area that wouldn't happen without the sports venue. For example, someone may not be a sports fan, but they may still use the sports venue to go to a concert, a circus, etc. But those other reasons don't apply to Glendale either. The people of Glendale already had the US Airways Center to experience those sorts of events.

I can remember a quote from someone on the COG that they weren't expecting the arena to break even when it first opened. But it was supposed to spur economic development for the area. It just seems to me that Westgate was a poorly envisioned concept from the beginning and it's failure so far shouldn't come as a surprise.

Last edited by JimAnchower: 04-20-2013 at 12:04 PM.
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