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2 Myths of the POWW

These are just a couple of things that I have peeved me over the last couple days when dealing with stadium issues. One other tidbit that RJ showed me for those of you worried about attendance number:

"In 1991 the Braves went from 65 wins to 94 and their overall attendance jumped from 12k to 26k. Through May 27th of 1991 their home attendance was roughly 19k per game, ours is 18k per game."

1. The Team Could Come to Tampa - This is the biggest myth that I have heard during the whole stadium politics process. I have heard members of the POWW make the idea of the team moving to Tampa, if the new stadium is shot down, seem to be feasible. You can even hear Lee Nolan of the POWW say this in his interview on the Bobby Fenton show yesterday. You can find the podcast of this interview here . To move the team to Tampa the team would have to buy their way out of their remaining lease with St. Pete.

If this stadium proposal does not go through, the ownership group has been adamant that they will not stay in the Trop for much longer. If the team is going to fork over the funds to buy out the lease, they will move the team to the place that will be the best investment for the team. That will not be Tampa! When I interviewed Aaron Sharockman, he said that he feels there is no chance at all of this team moving to Tampa. This is coming from the person who I think is the more informed than anyone on this topic. No matter how much many of us might want it, this team is not coming to Tampa anytime soon.

2. Stadium Would Have Negative Impact on Business -

"A common misconception is that a new downtown stadium is that a new downtown stadium would somehow be good for local business. In fact, a new waterfront ballpark combined with a huge retail center where the Trop is now would have a negative impact on downtown businesses, many of them already struggling."

This quote is taken directly from the front page of the POWW official website. First notice the word in that paragraph that I have put in bold. They didn't use "could", rather that use "would". They say "would" as if they can guarantee that this stadium would have a negative impact on downtown business. If you click through, the evidence that they show to back this statement is laughable.

"Study after study has shown the myth that sports stadiums are good for local businesses to be just that, a myth."

This is how they start their argument, yet they do not state one single study on the website that has shown this to be true. This past semester in school I studied facility funding in a graduate level class. There have been many different studies done on this topic and the results vary. The ultimate conclusion is that it is a case by case situation.

Currently at Rays games, the stadium is surrounded by parking. With parking being a huge issue with the new stadium, it is clear that there might be a walk on the way to and fro the games. This is a downtown area that is filled with businesses that will be passed by 15,000 extra people 80 times a year.

"There is a basic concept in Economics called Opportunity Cost, which occurs when people spend time and money on one thing and are therefore unable to spend that same time and money on something equally desirable.  It's a fundamental concept.

But they want us to believe there somehow won't be any opportunity cost when it comes to the new stadium, that both time and money will magically become more abundant, just because there is now a new thing to spend them on.  Not likely."

This is the last point I will tackle on this topic. They use opportunity cost as their main argument as to why the stadium would be a disaster for local business. Forgetting that they show no statistics to back this, they completely ignore the largest opportunity cost. The opportunity cost of losing the team, which could happen if this proposal is not passed.

According to the Transportation and Parking Study, 46% of season ticket holders come to games via a bridge over the bay.  What is the opportunity cost of these residents from outside of St. Pete that would be spending their money elsewhere with no team in the area, over what they would be spending in St. Pete if there were a new stadium. The 46% is just for season ticket holders. One would expect that more single game purchases would come from tourists and visitors from the other side of the Bay, which would make the opportunity cost even more for St. Pete. The same money will be available, but consumers would have a choice to spend that money in Tampa or St. Pete