The head of the group pushing the Los Angeles plan for an NFL stadium, Anschutz Entertainment Group, doesn't understand why anyone would be suspicious of the finances behind his plans for a downtown football stadium. From the LAT:
"Almost every other community in the world would be throwing parades," Leiweke said.
Really? A power-hungry developer backed by a reclusive Denver billionaire comes along with a plan to tear down part of the city-owned-and-operated convention center and jam in a stadium without providing any specifics on how the deal would be structured - other than his promise that it won't cost taxpayers a dime - and he's wondering why so many people are skeptical?
"When the proposal gets there, everyone's going to take a deep breath and realize: There is zero risk to the taxpayer," Leiweke said. "This is people trying to scare people. And it's a shame."
More disinterested voices continue to point out that pro sports teams do little, if anything, to boost local economies - and that the job creation figures being bandied about for the downtown stadium are crazy high. From the LAT:
Villaraigosa said the stadium complex would create more than 22,000 jobs, an assertion that drew a laugh from Brad Humphreys, an economics professor at the University of Alberta, Canada, who has studied such facilities for years. "That's way outside the usual garbage that I read," he said. "The best estimate ... would be zero jobs created." Construction jobs, he explained, would be the most visible, but they would be short-term.
Humphreys and colleagues studied every city in North America that had built sports facilities in the last 40 years, "and we were unable to find any evidence that the local economy ever did any better," he said. What such developments tend to do is move existing money, and presumably jobs, around -- as, say, entertainment dollars that would have been spent in Westwood are spent instead downtown.
This piece originally appeared at Mark's LA Biz Observed blog.