May 13, 2004
Here we go again

Stop me if you've heard this one before.

Major League Baseball's summer All-Star Game and related events in Houston will give Texas an $85.6 million boost, Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn predicted Wednesday.

"The 2004 All-Star Week events in Houston will be a home run for the city and for Texas," Strayhorn said.

"America's favorite pastime will bring nearly 29,000 out-of-state baseball fans to Texas, who will spend an average of $316 per day during their stay," she added.

Total visitors are expected to number 67,000.


Strayhorn estimated that support spending associated with the game plus spending by visitors from out of state will total $36.8 million. Secondary or "multiplier" effects on visitor-related industries, local earnings and extra household spending will bring the total economic impact to $85.6 million, she said.

We've been down this road before. Maybe I missed it in all the excitement, but I don't recall offhand seeing any post-Super Bowl stories that indicated whether the rosy revenue projections were anywhere near the target. Note here that Strayhorn is using the same 2.3 multiplier that had previously caused respectable economists to giggle and twitch uncontrollably. Maybe this all came true last time around, but boy, wouldn't it have been nice to see that referenced in this story? Even in passing?

The relevance here is that the city is expected to shell out a certain amount to "defray the costs of the game", whatever that means, with the state kicking in a proportionally larger amount. I'm sure there are valid reasons for spending this money, and it's not that huge an amount anyway, but given pro sports' affinity for sucking up public funds - this is the one true talent that MLB Commissioner Beelzebud Selig has - we should be proceeding with a healthy amount of skepticism.

One last thing:

Strayhorn predicted that visitor spending will include $9.1 million for lodging, $6.2 million for restaurants, $7.7 million for merchandise and retail sales, $5.7 million for bars and entertainment, and $1.8 million for local transportation.

"Bars and entertainment", eh? How much of that do you think is going to be spent in strip clubs, Carole?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 13, 2004 to Elsewhere in Houston | TrackBack