I’m in. But not everybody else is. One reader was outraged that taxpayer-funded buses have “Go Hawks!” on their destination boards.
And it’s easy to paraphrase Gen. Smedley Butler’s comment about war: Pro sports are a racket. Rich owners, operating in monopoly leagues, get millions from the public to build lavish stadiums under threat of moving the teams, that heavily benefit those same rich owners and their wealthy buddies.
The classic economic-development rationale is that pro teams generate jobs (most abeit low paying) and tax revenues. They are also important for retaining and recruiting major companies and talent. The Brookings Institution has a useful overview of the pro and con arguments here.
A certain mutual assured destruction (MAD) is at work. Few politicians want to test a theory that their cities can lose pro teams and remain economically strong. There’s the counter-argument of Los Angeles, which hasn’t had an NFL team in years. But LA has every other pro sport represented. And it’s LA, a world city. A place such as Cincinnati doesn’t want to take that chance. Losing the Sonics remains a civic trauma here.
It’s also true that most voters likely wouldn’t approve the same lump sums for, say, education or transit, as they would to keep their beloved pro team from leaving. Being a Big League City has a cachet.
So what do you think?
This Week’s Links:
• Where will the future jobs come from? | Tim Taylor
• How super was Mario (wonkish) | Paul Krugman
• The 10 hottest neighborhoods of 2015 (two in the Seattle area) | Businessweek
• How corrupt are states in the Northwest (and everywhere else) | FiveThirtyEight
• The Shake Shack economy | The New Yorker
• Our big bet for the future: The 2015 Gates annual letter | Bill & Melinda Gates
Today’s Econ Haiku:
Kid’s meal size earnings
Cooking up those low wages