The Star Tribune reports today that the Major League Baseball All-Star Game last July brought in less money to the economy than its promoters had expected. Maybe.
The $75 million expectation has been reduced to somewhere between $21 million and $55 million, which in the world of baseball we call a “gapper.”
It’s not much of a secret that governments and promoters regularly overinflate the economic impact of any sporting event — that’s how we get taxpayer-funded stadiums, but the revelation that it brought in less cash than it was expected to doesn’t answer an important question: so what?
“It looks like there’s something there, right? But what is it?” state Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans told the Star Trib . “You don’t want to overstate the case.”
“It really put Minneapolis, as a destination, on the map,” a manager of a hotel downtown said.
That’s nonsense too. Whatever boost Minneapolis gets as a nice place to go gets erased by a few nights of network TV coverage of the weather hell in which we live at this time of the year.
What the numbers don’t do is add up, because there’s a calculation missing: How much did the taxpayers spend to get the All-Star Game in Minneapolis? And there’s another one: How much is it worth just because it was a fun time to be in Minneapolis?
The concessions that the city gave to MLB were pretty secret, although initial figures seemed to be well short of its economic impact.
We’ll admit it. While watching the game on TV — we couldn’t afford the tickets — we were pretty proud that the place we live was getting some national attention for something other than cars spinning out.
It was cool to watch the Thunderbirds practice their aerial flyover in the days leading up to the game. It was exciting hearing people being excited about where they live. For a change.
When Rob Neyer of ESPN tweeted this, well, it was pretty hard to be distracted by math. We love hearing people talk about us. It forced us to consider where we live and why we’re lucky to live here.
Today convinced me that when the weather's pleasant, Minneapolis-St. Paul must be among the very nicest places in America.
— robneyer (@robneyer) July 14, 2014
There’s more to “living up to the hype” than how much money business made on the deal.