When talking about reasons the Bills should stay in Buffalo, say it’s because you love football and you love the Bills. But don’t say what Governor Andrew Cuomo said today. He released this statement (emphasis mine):
“As the process of finding a new owner for the Buffalo Bills moves forward, one thing is clear – the Bills belong in Western New York. I have been in touch with the NFL and the team’s potential buyers to make sure this message is heard, and I will continue to work with all interested parties until the sale is finalized. The Bills support hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in investments in the region annually, and by being located in Western New York they benefit from the most dedicated group of fans in the NFL. Few things are as culturally, historically and economically ingrained in Buffalo as the Bills, and we intend to keep it that way.”
Do the Bills support “hundreds of jobs?” Economists say, probably not.
“Generally, studies do not produce evidence of a positive connection between professional franchises and the creation of jobs…Jobs will only be created if there is an increase in aggregate spending on goods located within the city, but this is usually the exception and not the rule…most of the studies conducted prove that having a professional team or new stadium fail to increase significant job growth and can have an overall negative impact on a city.”
“The net number of jobs created from hosting a professional sports team is quite low. It is almost certainly less than 1,000 and likely to be much closer to zero.”
You might be wondering how a professional sports team has such a limited impact on job creation. Blame the “substitution effect.”
Most spending inside a stadium is a substitute for other local recreational spending, such as movies and restaurants. Similarly, most tax collections inside a stadium are substitutes: as other entertainment businesses decline, tax collections from them fall…
Now lets’ talk about revenue generated by income tax. Brookings continues:
Sports teams do collect substantial revenues from national licensing and broadcasting, but these must be balanced against funds leaving the area. Most sports revenue goes to a relatively few players, managers, coaches, and executives who earn extremely high salaries—all well above the earnings of people who work in the industries that are substitutes for sports. Most stadium employees work part time at very low wages and earn a small fraction of team revenues. Thus, substituting spending on sports for other recreational spending concentrates income, reduces the total number of jobs, and replaces full-time jobs with low-wage, part-time jobs.
The Kansas City Federal Reserve estimates localities get about $1.1 million in sales tax revenue from outsiders who attend NFL games. There is no local income tax in New York, but let’s say the state collects about $12 million based on the Bills salary cap. That doesn’t offset huge public spending to support the team, however. It’s also wrong to assume the players spend all their money in the local community.
Experts forecast Western New York wouldn’t endure much economic pain. Not even the Orchard Park or Hamburg real-estate markets would miss a few dozen millionaires. Annual alcohol sales would be affected maybe only a percentage point or two without Bills-related parties and tailgates, Try-It Distributing chairman Gene Vukelic guessed…
Analysts predict Western New York’s economy could absorb a Bills departure with little trouble…
Based on 2010 U.S. Department of Commerce statistics, the gross domestic product of the Buffalo-Niagara market was $45.15 billion. Remove the Bills from that total, and “it doesn’t leave a ripple,” said Bruce Fisher, former Erie County deputy executive and founding director of the Center for Economic and Policy Studies at Buffalo State…
Overall, Fisher doesn’t see a substantial economic benefit from the Bills. He noted the county gives the Bills about $8 million a year in subsidies that could be spent elsewhere for a greater economic return.
Of course, the Bills may provide intangible benefits, such as community pride. But there’s no study proving that has dollars and cents value. There are, however, many independent studies showing professional sports teams have a marginal economic benefit. They may even have a negative one.
It’s laughable to suggest the Bills spur “hundreds of millions of dollars in investment in the region annually.” SHOW ME THAT STUDY. SHOW ME THE DATA. Oh wait. The governor was probably talking about the money the state may invest in a new stadium.
It’s okay to like the Bills and want them to stay in Western New York. Just be honest and let your argument end there.
Tweets of the Day:
— Michael Caputo (@MichaelRCaputo) August 3, 2014
@rachbarnhart Not sure. I do feel that both Pegula and Golisano have strong WNY connections and neither would ever move the Bills.
— Robert Duffy (@LtGovDuffyNY) August 3, 2014
Links of the Day:
– A “once-unthinkable crisis in the world’s greatest freshwater region,” Toledo residents can’t drink the water.
– Zephyr Teachout, Cuomo’s challenger for the Democratic line, hopes scandal gives campaign traction.
– Cuomo once said campaign money shouldn’t be used for personal expenses, but he’s using campaign money for lawyer.
– This data seems dubious, but it’s believable and sobering. One in 40 Rochester ninth graders will get a college degree. The article does a great job showing the effects of isolating urban students, not exposing them to college-going culture.
– South Korean students spent 13 hours a day studying and sleep 5.5 hours a night. But they do well on tests!
– Syracuse Silver Knights are unhappy with Rochester Lancer’s decision to pull out of new indoor soccer league.