Sunday, January 14, 2007

Is This Our Future?

We in Dallas are suffering through yet another demanding professional sports team's whining about facilities. So in response, rather than having the actual team, which is a BUSINESS, build their own facility, voters bought into a rather tenuous arguement that building a Temple to The Dallas Cowboys would bring wealth to their cities. Just prior to the election, a professor at a local university came out with studies proving that such facilities don't improve the local economy, but instead often depress is due to the burden of local taxes that must be used to pay off the building bonds. In looking at this, I considered what the impact would be when this facility opens. First of all, there are only a finite number of pro games, Super Bowls and college games that any facility can reasonably hold during the year. And you won't get a Super Bowl or ProBowl but about one time out of ten. Although the projections were that for a Super Bowl the amount of money that could be put in the local economy might range as high as $100,000, 000-that isn't all going to be heading to the town where the facility is located. Most of that money will stay in Dallas or Ft. Worth in the form of hotels/motels, car rentals and restaurants. There are also side issue which haven't yet been discussed. Unlike facilities in Chicago, Boston, New York or LA, the facility being built in Arlington for the Cowboys has no public transportation. That forces people to pay to park and further constricts an already tight traffic corridor. Unless the state or federal government come up with cash to wide and improve highways, trying to make it to the game will be a logisitic nightmare. Add to that the location of the stadium far away from the wealthiest fan bases. The Rangers have already experienced the lack of attendance during the week due to a combination of late starts and long travel times, and although the Cowboys play on Sunday usually, there will be traffic issues forced upon the local governments. All this comes down to money. And currently parking is $8, beer is $3, and a hotdog is $3 at the current facility. That is going to have to go up exponentially in order to cover the overhead. I personally consider going to most of the professional sports events as too costly, I can't even imagine how high prices will go. So I wonder, will we continue to have people who claim to have no money to pay for their kids education spending upwards of $200 a week to take the family to a sporting event? And as with the Romans in the linked article, will we start to see even more of the cultural tiering based on status? We already have the luxury boxes, is it too far away for Jerry Jones and his fellow owners to don the purple of empire and give a thumbs up or thumbs down? I'm just asking.........

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