Saturday, June 24, 2006

Wall Street Journal says KC's quest is misguided

Arenas of Dreams:
But Will Teams Come?

The Wall Street Journal recently wrote an article about our new Sprint Center and the "if you build it, they will come" attitude toward attracting an NHL or NBA team. The article says that we don't even have a minor league team for the area, which actually isn't true because the Brigade could play there and there is an opportunity to get into the AHL every year.

Are we misguided by trying to attract an NHL or NBA team when, by some accounts, these teams only add to a city's self image and not to a city's bottom line (and could operate at a loss).

Once again, the article has some factual errors (will there ever be an article when these journalists get the story right?)

Kansas City was once home to major-league hockey and basketball teams but lost both in the 1980s to other cities.

We lost a hockey team in the 1980s? Hmm, because, by all accounts, we lost the Kansas City Scouts in 1976 after two seasons.KC Scouts on Hockeydb

Tulsa, Okla., for example, is constructing the 18,000-seat Bank of Oklahoma Center to help it land the likes of the NCAA men's Big 12 basketball tournament, rock concerts and family events such as Champions on Ice. The arena, designed by architect Cesar Pelli, will also be home to minor-league hockey and arena football.

Tulsa is building at 18,000 seat arena?


Read this next quote from the article, as "your with me leather" would say, "Ouch, babe."

In "The Economics of Sports Facilities and Their Communities," published in 2000 in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, authors Andrew Zimbalist of Smith College and John Siegfried of Vanderbilt University argue that "independent work on the economic impact of stadiums and arenas has uniformly found that there is no statistically significant positive correlation between sports facility construction and economic development."

Now, the building is going to cost more than originally expected.

With Ms. Barnes pressing for a "cutting-edge, destination attraction," the overall cost of the project has crept up 10% above its original estimate of $250 million.

Who didn't see this coming? These things never come in under budget. Plus, the design consortium guys want to make this arena a crown jewel of their design because how bad would it look to have a crappy arena in HOK Sports' hometown?

The district, which is expected to open next year, replaces a blighted swath of surface parking lots, adult bookstores and strip clubs.

Oh, c'mon. That is an exaggeration and kind of p's me off.
I haven't worked downtown in about eight years, but from what I recall the arena and P&L District is replacing, mostly, parking lots.

"People here are hungry for a team," says Kevin Gray, president of the Kansas City Sports Commission. "We're confident we'll get one."

Ugh, when is this guy going to go away. On his watch we lost the Big XII tourney, Big XII offices, the Blades, Knights, Attack and Royals (oops, only seems like the Royals are gone). He was in support of the silly idea to bring UHL hockey here and will be in charge of the Sports Commission when the Wizards go dark for a year and, maybe, forever.

I'm sure he'll claim some success for our wonderful Speedway when we should be give Carol Marinovich a parade each year for the unbridled success of the Speedway and the area around it.


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