I fell in love with New Orleans at a Soul Rebels show at Le Bon Temps Roule. I'm never living anywhere else come hell or…
Laissez les bon temps roulez!
There are actually several Hornets games during Carnival season, but just not during Mardi Gras weekend. As you can see by this season's schedule, the Hornets have home games on Jan 19 (same night as Krewe de Vieux) and 25 (three parades rolling that night). You can rest assured they'd do a "Mardi Gras at the Hive" as they have in years past.
@ridiculous (and I guess @ everyone else who has rehashed his points), it's true that all the articles and studies I've pointed to are about sports facilities, but you forget that the state originally built and owns the Superdome and invested $85 million in taxpayer funds to pay for the recent renovations. Also, in many cases, the state subsidies for new parks come after teams threaten to move (much like the situation with the Saints). It's not that great a leap to see that Louisiana paying the Saints to stay in New Orleans, as well as investing millions in the Superdome, as being the same as paying for a brand new facility.
As for the income tax argument, I'll just copy and paste this passage from the Brookings Institute study:
"Sports teams do collect substantial revenues from national licensing and broadcasting, but these must be balanced against funds leaving the area. Most professional athletes do not live where they play, so their income is not spent locally. Moreover, players make inflated salaries for only a few years, so they have high savings, which they invest in national firms. Finally, though a new stadium increases attendance, ticket revenues are shared in both baseball and football, so that part of the revenue gain goes to other cities. On balance, these factors are largely offsetting, leaving little or no net local export gain to a community."
As for the effect of the Super Bowl, the Williams College study states:
"Similarly, Baade and Matheson’s (1999) examination of twenty-five Super Bowls from 1973 to 1997 found the game associated with an increase in host metropolitan area employment of 537 jobs. Based on simple assumptions regarding the value of a job to a community, they estimate an average economic impact of roughly $30 million or roughly one-tenth the figures touted by the NFL. Coates and Humphrey’s (2002) cursory look at all post-season play in American professional sports found that hosting the Super Bowl had no statistically significant effect on per capita income in the host city."
All of the studies I referenced take into account all factors brought up here: tourism, hospitality industry revenue, tax revenue, property tax revenue increases, etc... and they all come to the same conclusion: compared to building a research laboratory or investing in infrastructure or education (both of which are desperately needed in New Orleans and the U.S. in general), the economic effect of having a sports team or even hosting the Super Bowl in negligible.
Once again, this is not an argument that the Saints shouldn't play in New Orleans or that the Mercedes partnership isn't good for the taxpayers, it's that the Saints should never have received public funds in the first place and that the deal between the team and the car company primarily benefits only those parties, with minimal impact on New Orleans and Louisiana.
However, there is also this (also from the Brookings study):
"A second rationale for subsidized stadiums is that stadiums generate more local consumer satisfaction than alternative investments. There is some truth to this argument. Professional sports teams are very small businesses, comparable to large department or grocery stores. They capture public attention far out of proportion to their economic significance. Broadcast and print media give so much attention to sports because so many people are fans, even if they do not actually attend games or buy sports-related products.
A professional sports team, therefore, creates a "public good" or "externality"—a benefit enjoyed by consumers who follow sports regardless of whether they help pay for it. The magnitude of this benefit is unknown, and is not shared by everyone; nevertheless, it exists. As a result, sports fans are likely to accept higher taxes or reduced public services to attract or keep a team, even if they do not attend games themselves. These fans, supplemented and mobilized by teams, local media, and local interests that benefit directly from a stadium, constitute the base of political support for subsidized sports facilities."
Which explains why people are so eager to throw tax money at sports teams instead of at public works projects that are proven to generate more positive and longer-lasting economic stimulus.
And, finally, this is what the CATO Institute concluded:
"University of Maryland economists Dennis Coates and Brad Humphreys estimated that sports-oriented tax revenues and personal earnings from sports were well under a percent of total revenues and earnings for Baltimore and Maryland.
In fact, sports spending is primarily substitutional. Stanford University economist Roger Noll figured that only 5 percent to 10 percent of those attending games live elsewhere. Local fans divert their outlays from other leisure activities and other areas within the region.
Thus, government stadium "investments" have consistently generated meager results. Robert Baade and Allen Sanderson looked at a dozen metropolitan areas for The Heartland Institute and found no net employment hike. Separately Baade reviewed 36 cities and found no net statistical increase in economic growth.
There's a more important philosophical point. Taxpayers do not owe their lives to franchise holders, restaurateurs, or property owners. Any increased profits for the latter are a private, not public, benefit.
Would a new stadium add value to wherever? Sure. But so would a new retail store or library. Or new cafes and restaurants."
I should also point out that none of this is to say that I don't support the Saints in being in New Orleans or that the Mercedes partnership isn't great news for taxpayers that are now off the hook. Professional sports can and do have meaningful and positive impacts on the cities in which they're played. It's just that there is overwhelming evidence against the notion that there is a significant, positive economic returns for using taxpayer funds to support professional sports teams.
I also take issue with the fact that the Saints are the only NFL team to receive public funds and that they do it while playing in a state-owned stadium and that now we're being made to think that this is a great deal because taxpayers are finally off the hook for what was a lousy situation in the first place.
@ridiculous, first off, I'm gonna point out this is shouldn't be treated as a partisan issue, because it's not. I would've written this post whether Jindal was a Democrat, Republican or Anarchist. Also, at no point did I ever imply that Benson "earns more than enough" and is thus not entitled to more. My primary argument was, and remains, that the significance of the Superdome naming-rights deal in terms of economic impact is not as grand as the Saints, Mercedes or politicians from both parties would have us believe.
The CATO study is pretty clear that taxpayer investments in sports stadiums doesn't have a reasonable rate of return whether you're in New York City, San Diego, Cleveland or anywhere in between. To say NOLA is exempt from it because it's poorer than most cities is to ignore the fact that team owners seek public funds to pay for their stadiums in spite of whatever the local economy is going through (prime example: Detroit's Ford Field).
Also, by what metric are you saying that New Orleans is "different from every other city due to the lack of money"? Buffalo, Cleveland, Miami and St. Louis all have lower median household incomes than New Orleans. In terms of poverty rate, Detroit, Miami, Atlanta, Buffalo, Philadelphia and Memphis are all worse than New Orleans. None of the NFL teams in those cities take direct taxpayer funds like the Saints do.
On the subject of the economic value of sports franchises, I encourage you to read this report by the United States Sports Academy: http://thesportdigest.com/archive/article/… and this one by the Brookings Institute (a non-partisan think tank): http://www.brookings.edu/articles/1997/sum…
Both studies conclude that the economic impact of sports franchises is highly debatable and certainly not as high as franchises make it out to be in their search for public funds. Among the reasons they point out that the value is diminished is that players and coaches aren't always full-time residents of the cities they play in and the stadiums where they play are actually closed for more days out of the year than they are open.
You do make a fair argument that the Super Bowl and NBA All-Star games might not be held in New Orleans if the city didn't have respective teams in each league. But there has only been one NBA All Star game played in New Orleans and, as this Williams College study notes: http://web.williams.edu/Economics/wp/mathe… even the economic impact of having the Super Bowl isn't as great as advertised.
Even if you ignore that economic data, if New Orleans lost the Saints and, in theory, the Super Bowl, the Superdome would still host the Sugar Bowl, Essence Fest, the Louisiana high school football championships and the Bayou Classic every year, as well as the BCS National Championship every four years. Even if you considered a New Orleans without the Superdome or the New Orleans Arena, we'd still have Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest, VooDoo Fest and the city's rich cultural history to attract a regular stream of tourists every year.
Benson is certainly entitled to make as much money as he can and to employ as many legal methods as possible in that pursuit. But to say that he's justified in being paid taxpayer funds to achieve his profit margins or to say that the positive economic impact is worth it with so much evidence pointing to the contrary is ridiculous indeed.
@Ogden, whoops, that was a typo. It's been corrected.
I'm not sure where you got your information on the Bengals, but it's inaccurate. It's true that the team received public funds to build their new stadium, but they do not receive direct payments from their state. Also, the tax funds for the stadium has led to this lawsuit: http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-articl…
It should also be noted that the the CATO Institute, a conservative Libertarian think tank, released a report stating that government funded stadiums are not worth the price to tax payers: http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id…
The Saints, like every NFL team, earn more than enough to operate anywhere in the country thanks to the NFL's revenue-sharing structure (how else would teams exist in Green Bay and Buffalo?), which renders any argument that Louisiana should pay the team anything as moot. There's also no excuse for the fact that Benson used San Antonio's desires to have the Saints permanently as leverage to squeeze more money out of Louisiana tax payers.
The Thunder do receive a tax subsidy to play in Oklahoma City, but I wrote that the Saints deal with Louisiana is the only one that exists between a state and the NFL, I did not mention other sports leagues.
Overall, I'm glad we're having this type of discussion and encourage more responses.
It's absolutely great news that the Saints aren't getting any more taxpayer money and I say as much. But my point is that the state should never have been paying the Saints in the first place and, no matter how you slice it, the primary beneficiaries of this deal are the team and Mercedes, not Louisiana (which, by the way, earned plenty of free advertising and name recognition when the stadium was called the Louisiana Superdome)
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