Market Power

Musings by an academic economist on the power of markets and the power over markets.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Thom Loverro Attacks Brad Humphreys!

Just read this piece on Skip Sauer’s blog. The columnist, Thom Loverro of the Washington Times, gets personal about Brad Humphreys, calling him a pencil-neck geek and a clown. Mr. Loverro takes exception to Brad’s use of Tropicana Field as an example of what is wrong with using a sports stadium as a catalyst for economic development. He says:

“Of all the possible examples, this clown picks the worst ballpark in baseball — a domed stadium that was outdated before the team played a game there, in a community with so many senior citizens on fixed incomes that it is the only place they take attendance before and after games. RFK Stadium would be a better draw than Tropicana Field.”

That’s pretty harsh. But Tropicana Field is not all by itself in being no draw for economic activity. There’s the Truman Sports Complex in KC. Around this site, there’s one hotel, a Denny’s, an office for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a gas station, a humongous parking lot, and a couple of interstates on which to leave. That's it. We have Busch Stadium, the Savvis Center, and the Edward Jones dome in downtown St. Louis. The areas around those venues aren’t exactly party central, unless you want to visit the Bowling Hall of Fame. The Metrodome in Minneapolis? There’s not much around there. The Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul? A few bars exist just south of Xcel, but that’s it - and not much of the activity going on in those places represents new spending in the community. Safeco Field in Seattle?

One question for Mr. Loverro: why was Tropicana Field "outdated" before a game was played there? Answer: it has something to do with the market power of sports leagues.