Anti-Arena Campaign

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Postby mean » Mon Oct 13, 2003 1:01 pm

From the link:

"When a city chooses to use taxpayer dollars to finance sports stadiums, the city's leaders must consider not only what the alternative uses of those funds could be - schools, police, roads and so on - but they must also figure what return the city would receive from those other ventures," Zaretsky said.


This is what I'm saying. For cities where the roads and schools and so on aren't crumbling and the city's budget is in the black, financing an arena with taxpayer money makes a hell of a lot more sense. Boston? Give me a break, Boston's been a large vibrant town since colonial times. There is no valid comparison between Boston and Kansas City. They aren't trying to resurrect and reinvent themselves. They have no need to.

If nothing else, you illustrate my point that an area should be dense with residential and retail -- like Boston -- before arenas and whatnot enter the picture. Then you will be looking at much better chances for continued success.
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Postby KCPowercat » Mon Oct 13, 2003 1:11 pm

spending more money on schools and roads won't help us get into the black....putting more money on the income side of things will...things like arenas help that to happen.
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Postby mean » Mon Oct 13, 2003 6:05 pm

KC wrote:spending more money on schools and roads won't help us get into the black....putting more money on the income side of things will...things like arenas help that to happen.


Not according to economists and econ profs Roger Noll (Stanford) and Andrew Zimbalist (Smith College):

A new sports facility has an extremely small (perhaps even negative) effect on overall economic activity and employment. ... Regardless of whether the unit of analysis is a local neighborhood, a city or an entire metropolitan area, the economic benefits of sports facilities are de minimus.

Sports facilities attract neither tourists nor new industry. Probably the most successful export facility is Oriole Park, where about a third of the crowd at every game comes from outside the Baltimore area. ... Even so, the net gain to Baltimore's economy in terms of new jobs and incremental tax revenues is only about $3 million a year - not much of a return on a $200 million investment.


I'm sorry bro, but your thinking is backwards. Spending money on "schools and roads" (more accurately, infrastructure in general, including transit, police and fire protection, useful city services, roads, sewers, schools, etc) is an investment in the city which will bring and retain residents. It is nigh on offensive to suggest that an arena is more important than getting people around the city safely, or that people who want good infrastructure should move somewhere else, and I submit that this attitude will get you precisely what you wish for -- people moving someplace else instead of Kansas City. This will definitely not help the budget, while residents moving here and staying here definitely will.

I conclude (and scads of economists before me, see the work of John J. Siegfried, Robert Baade, Richard Dye, Mark Rosentraub, et al) that arenas rarely have a positive economic impact, and should be viewed strictly as civic pride issues. There is nothing wrong with that! But there is something wrong with perpetuating the lie of economic benefit when the majority of academic research on the subject points to negative (if any) economic impact. There is also something wrong with being melodramatic about it, and suggesting that scores of folks will move away if we don't build a new arena, or that businesses will not locate here, or that our sports teams will abandon us. This kind of melodrama is simply not useful. What can be useful is determining what the best investments for city money are, and investing in those.
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Postby baystateroad » Mon Oct 13, 2003 6:38 pm

There is no valid comparison between Boston and Kansas City

When did this become a thread strictly on comparing boston to kansas city?

You posted the following statement:

"---from 1980 to 1995, the population levels in downtown areas in cities with downtown sports facilities declined more than in the other communities."

You then made the following statement:

Downtown needs residents. . .the first and only thing we should be concerned with is making sure people want to live there, and that once there they want to stay. An arena can not accomplish this

People disagreed with you, so you turned the focus of this debate outward by asking for "evidence" which contradicted your statements and your position above.

In short--you were asking for examples/evidence of vibrant cities where development occurred around such arenas and contributed to the vibrancy of the area.

I PROVIDED SUCH "EVIDENCE" AND NOW YOU DISMISS IT OUT OF HAND--ON THE BASIS THAT THE "EVIDENCE" I PROVIDED
REFLECTED A PLACE THAT'S VIBRANT. I provided exactly what you asked for and you now dismiss it because it's exactly what you asked for.


You don't make any sense--how can this not be relevant? You ask for vibrancy, get it, than say, "nope, it's irrelevant on the basis that it's vibrant".

If the reality had been the opposite--that people had been leaving the fenway neighborhood in droves over the past 50 years because they were tired of the ballpark are you saying that you wouldn't see that as supporting your position--as relevant?

You set the criteria--now you're somehow changing it--reinterpreting it--simply because it proved you wrong. Are you changing your position now? Do you even have a position?

You have no credibility.

If nothing else, you illustrate my point that an area should be dense with residential and retail -- like Boston -- before arenas and whatnot enter the picture

Huh? The examples I posted do not illustrate the above circumstances at all--the fenway is not a dense neighborhood in which a park is going to be inserted--it's a place with a park already in place and well established. We're not talking about an arena "entering the picture"--we're talking about ancillary development "entering the picture" around the arena--about the arena supporting and possibly driving development. That's what you wanted proof of and what I submitted. You said the presence of such a park will not support development and will drive development away--the examples I submitted directly contradict you.

What you said above may now be your position--that's fine--but that's not what you wanted proof of.

At one time development of the area around fenway park was also quite scarce--that's why they sited it there--because there was plenty of space. And look what grew (and continues to grow up) around it. You're wrong.

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Postby KCPowercat » Mon Oct 13, 2003 6:39 pm

I think we've all seen money is not the issue with the KCMO school district...there has been more than enough cash thrown at it...the problem is the leadership of the school board.

I'll find just as many economist that can prove an arena adds to the income side of the balance sheet....numbers don't lie but liars use numbers....

Cities as small as Albany:
http://www.albanycounty.com/executive/N ... t_2002.htm

to Cities like Dallas:
http://www.hotel-online.com/News/2003_A ... 13804.html

You can argue how much a new sports facility spurs surrounding development (just look at what STL's 3 facilities have done, nothing) but a well run arena can be a profit maker for the city.
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Postby baystateroad » Mon Oct 13, 2003 6:47 pm

Look, the bottom line on this whole debate is that if done right and supported correctly (camden yards, coors field, target center, fleet center) new arena construction can spur development and produce a virtuous effect for the community. If done wrong it won't--just like any development project.

But there are certainly no absolutes either way. A poster keeps asking for and pointing to "research" and "evidence"--solid material exists supporting both sides. And once you get beyond that material all it boils down to is a simple matter of opinion--which is where this whole thing started in the first place.

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Postby QueSi2Opie » Mon Oct 13, 2003 9:04 pm

mean wrote:Spending money on "schools and roads" (more accurately, infrastructure in general, including transit, police and fire protection, useful city services, roads, sewers, schools, etc) is an investment in the city which will bring and retain residents.


Schools are bad in most urban cities and need federal help. We've passed a bond for infrastructure, and we'll be gettin' a bus rapid system (you can forget about light-rail for a while)...now we need an Arena package that includes major tenants and an entertainment district.

It seems to me that no investors really want to spend the money on relocating in or redeveloping downtown without mainstream entertainment...that includes a sports arena.

Face it, I don't want downtown to be jus' another neighborhood, if that's the case, suburbanites might as well stay in Lee's Summit, Blue Springs, Liberty, Overland Park, Olathe and Leawood. Tourists won't be very impressed either.

Jus' tell me this, if the arena is part of a package deal, will you accept or reject it? I might agree that an arena alone won't turn downtown around, but if the arena is the horse pullin' the investor's wagon, than I'm 100% for it!
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Postby mean » Mon Oct 13, 2003 10:42 pm

baystateroad wrote:There is no valid comparison between Boston and Kansas City

When did this become a thread strictly on comparing boston to kansas city?

You posted the following statement:

"---from 1980 to 1995, the population levels in downtown areas in cities with downtown sports facilities declined more than in the other communities."

You then made the following statement:

Downtown needs residents. . .the first and only thing we should be concerned with is making sure people want to live there, and that once there they want to stay. An arena can not accomplish this

People disagreed with you, so you turned the focus of this debate outward by asking for "evidence" which contradicted your statements and your position above.


I apologize, cause I basically ignored most of what you wrote. I'll be a lot more likely to pay attention if you give me the Reader's Digest version and link to anything that needs additional explantion; but you raise reasonable issues, so I will at least do the favor of explaining why you're wrong.

First of all, the article you posted makes a lot of speculative, forward looking statements on things that may or may not (and often don't) meet expectations. What you provide isn't academic research, friend, it looks like someone at the Globe got a press release from Boston's CVB, who are notorious for flubbing statistics. Ignoring that, I still don't see where it says anything about increasing the population density or attracting residents, which is what I was talking about.

In other words, I fail to see how Boston hoping to make $1.5 - $2 million [total for hotels, food, and everything -- that is not city revenue, that is total sales] over a weekend means an arena is a good investment for KC. It attempts to make the point that there is an economic return to sports, but it doesn't address where the money goes. How much of that goes right back out of town to Corporate Headquarters and into CEO paychecks, player, coaches, and owner paychecks? Most of it. Let's be simple and say the city gets 10% of the $2 million, for a total of $200,000 primarily in the form of sales tax. Not a bad haul for a holiday weekend, you might think, but it'll take 1,000 of those pay off a $200,000,000 arena (which is a pretty lowball estimate to begin with) and doesn't include the upgrades and repairs which will "need" to be done every few years to "maximize the return on our investment".

In short--you were asking for examples/evidence of vibrant cities where development occurred around such arenas and contributed to the vibrancy of the area.

I PROVIDED SUCH "EVIDENCE" AND NOW YOU DISMISS IT OUT OF HAND--ON THE BASIS THAT THE "EVIDENCE" I PROVIDED
REFLECTED A PLACE THAT'S VIBRANT. I provided exactly what you asked for and you now dismiss it because it's exactly what you asked for.


Settle down, you haven't provided anything but a newspaper article that talks about sports impacting the local economy, and uses questionable numbers as the basis for its assertions. The article says nothing about contributing to the vibrancy of the area as a neighborhood, and it says nothing about the arena causing development. It says that tourists come and spend money. That's fine and dandy, tourists come to downtown KC for big conventions and spend money too, but I wouldn't characterize the area as vibrant. You are implying that correlation = causation, which is not true.

If I'm missing some major point about Fenway being built in the boonies and spurring development, I'll remind you that it was built in 1912, long before the automobile revolution.

You don't make any sense--how can this not be relevant? You ask for vibrancy, get it, than say, "nope, it's irrelevant on the basis that it's vibrant".


My point was that KC is putting an arena in what is currently recognized to be a blighted part of town. Boston didn't do anything like this, their stadium was built in 1912 for crying out loud. The situations have nothing in common.

If the reality had been the opposite--that people had been leaving the fenway neighborhood in droves over the past 50 years because they were tired of the ballpark are you saying that you wouldn't see that as supporting your position--as relevant?


By saying "an arena can not accomplish this" all I'm saying is that a new arena in Kansas City won't suck in tons of residents. It WILL NOT be a massive catalyst for people moving TO the area, and MAY be catalyst for people moving FROM the area. Your article doesn't provide any evidence that tons of people moved to Fenway's neighborhood because of Fenway, and even if it did, it's still a completely different situation than what we have in KC.

You set the criteria--now you're somehow changing it--reinterpreting it--simply because it proved you wrong. Are you changing your position now? Do you even have a position?


I stand firm on my position -- you changed the criteria in an attempt to prove me wrong.

You have no credibility.


Blah blah, that's like Hitler telling Osama bin Laden he's a jerk. This is the internet. Nobody has any credibility.

Huh? The examples I posted do not illustrate the above circumstances at all--the fenway is not a dense neighborhood in which a park is going to be inserted--it's a place with a park already in place and well established. We're not talking about an arena "entering the picture"--we're talking about ancillary development "entering the picture" around the arena--about the arena supporting and possibly driving development.


What, in 1912? Big deal. Things were a lot different then.

That's what you wanted proof of and what I submitted. You said the presence of such a park will not support development and will drive development away--the examples I submitted directly contradict you.


I did not, I said the presence of such a park MAY not spur development and MAY drive development and residents away. This is not Boston, 1912. This is Kansas City, 2003. The situations are, again, not comparable.

What you said above may now be your position--that's fine--but that's not what you wanted proof of.


Since you obviously didn't get it, let me spell it out for you: show me academic research demonstrating that at least 50% of downtown stadiums built since WWII have directly caused positive population growth for the five or ten surrounding blocks. I will be satisfied with just half, I figure that will give us roughly a 50/50 chance. Show me academic research demonstrating that heavily subsidizing arenas in general and pro sports in particular results in a positive effect on the economy at the neighborhood, city, metro, and regional levels. This should not be particularly hard if you are correct, tons of economists have done this research.

At one time development of the area around fenway park was also quite scarce--that's why they sited it there--because there was plenty of space. And look what grew (and continues to grow up) around it. You're wrong.


YEAH IN 1912 YOU NUMBSKULL. Development continuing to grow up around a long-vibrant area is natural.

Some people. Sheesh.
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Postby mean » Mon Oct 13, 2003 11:18 pm

QueSi2Opie wrote:Jus' tell me this, if the arena is part of a package deal, will you accept or reject it? I might agree that an arena alone won't turn downtown around, but if the arena is the horse pullin' the investor's wagon, than I'm 100% for it!


I would support an arena under several different possible circumstances. If we could work out some dual-financing (city+private interest) I'd be a lot happier. If we'd get some impartial opportunity cost studies done which state that an arena is the best investment for our money, I'd feel a lot better about building one. If someone could show me realistic numbers demonstrating this arena plan as likely to be an economic benefit rather than liability, I might join the bandwagon. If someone can show me that building new arenas (preferably well within the last 50 years) attracts people more often than it repels them, I'll certainly take that into consideration as well.

I'm not anti-arena to be anti-KC, and I'm definitely not anti-development. Bring on the Vista, the Empire, the President, bring on the PAC -- at least it's privately funded. Hell, bring on the giant tornado for all I care, if it's someone else's money. But if my money is on the line, I want to see conclusive research indicating I'm making the right investment. I'm not going to go blow money on stocks based on how they performed in 1912 in Boston, for example.
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Postby eliphar17 » Mon Oct 13, 2003 11:35 pm

Something interesting in one of those links...

"Another argument is that the fan base for sports stadiums is 'insufficiently foreign', in that not enough paying fans come from out of the city as to create a net import of spending (Baade-2, 1996). Western cities, however, notably Kansas City, have been found to import fans at a higher rate, perhaps because they have more of a regional following because the pro franchises are farther apart (Baade-2, 1996)."

They call us out specifically for having a large regional following. I think this probably refers to the Chiefs, as I believe the Royals have little influence outside western Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska. Oklahoma is generally Cardinals territory because the St. Louis radio stations were broadcasting Cardinals games out there years before Kansas City even had the A's, much less the Royals.

It seems to me, unknowledgeable as I am about stadium economics, that $200M is somewhat of an upper limit for any public organization to be spending on a single sports facility. Actually, I think arenas don't need to be even that much. Indianapolis spent $180M on Conseco Fieldhouse and got what is widely considered the Camden Yards of the NBA, to say the very least. (It was designed by none other than Ellerbe Becket, part of the core of sports architecture here in KC.)

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Postby baystateroad » Tue Oct 14, 2003 4:31 pm

I still don't see where it says anything about increasing the population density or attracting residents,

Unique tactic--when proven wrong simply claim you're not aware of why. Then go on for hours, purposely, on the wrong assumptions.

show me academic research

Not what you asked for--all you said you wanted was "evidence" which you got.

(mean) Downtown needs residents. . .the first and only thing we should be concerned with is making sure people want to live there, and that once there they want to stay. An arena can not accomplish this

I (mean) said the presence of such a park MAY not spur development and MAY drive development and residents away

By saying "an arena can not accomplish this" all I'm saying is that a new arena in Kansas City won't suck in tons of residents. It WILL NOT be a massive catalyst for people moving TO the area, and MAY be catalyst for people moving FROM the area.

So you are changing your position (twice in the same post) as well as the form of the desired "evidence", all while claiming you simply ignored everthing anyway and believing:

This is the internet. Nobody has any credibility

This is like talking to a schizophrenic child. You have to know how full of it you are. Nobody can possibly be this retarded.

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Postby mean » Tue Oct 14, 2003 9:42 pm

I've not changing my position at all. There is nothing incompatible between saying that an arena can't accomplish bringing residents downtown, that an arena may not spur development, and that an arena may drive development and residents (particularly residents) away. I'm not changing my position, those are all opinions that I have, and they're not mutually exclusive. Please stop pretending like a child who can't yet understand written English. Most of the evidence provided by myself and others on which I have based my judgements has been by economists. The evidence provided by you is based on a press release. Who has no credibility?

When I ask for "evidence" of social and economic trends, you should assume I would like to see academic research. What else is there but PR, and what good is PR for making investment decisions? I hope you are not an investment consultant.

I remember you from before, right? Your style is very familiar: confuse and distract. I'm sorry to disappoint, but you've got nothing. There's nothing inconsistent about my position. You can copy and paste all you like, and search for "flaws" in my "non-credible" arguments to your heart's content, but there is really nothing for me to defend. I stand by everything I've said. I will say it all again, this time annotated:

1. Downtown needs residents, and an arena can not accomplish this.

2. The presence of such [arena] may not spur development and MAY drive [esp. local] development and residents away.

3. A new arena in Kansas City won't suck in tons of residents. It WILL NOT be a massive catalyst for people moving TO the area, and MAY be catalyst for people moving FROM the area.

This is like talking to a schizophrenic child. You have to know how full of it you are. Nobody can possibly be this retarded.


This has nothing to do with the discussion. I am obviously not retarded, and I feel like I'm clearly a lot better at critical analysis of situations than you are.

Anyway, I leave with a few parting thoughts:

Lots of economists have done studies the relationship between arenas and their host cities. I believe that the majority of economists who have done the research agree with me on most or all points. This is sufficient for me to believe I am correct. If you can demonstrate that most economists in fact disagree with me, this would be an effective tactic. If you have compelling evidence that their research is flawed, that would be an effective tactic. If you have a large body of counter-research that contradicts the large body of economists who agree with me, please share it so we might all be enlightened -- this, too, would be an effective tactic.

What is not effective is acting like a baby, "Waa waa, I want an arena, and you don't want one, so you are retarded...even though you base your position on modern economic research and I base mine off PR press releases and development trends in Boston in 1912."

You're a sham, your "arguments" aren't arguments at all but merely attacks on me, your "evidence" is based on what essentially amounts to advertising in the local newspaper rather than economic research, and your goal isn't to accomplish any kind of meaningful debate but simply to troll through trying to piss me off because you have some kind of grudge against me or, more likely, my opinions. You have failed, you have been called out.

/me bows, shuffles off sagely
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Postby bahua » Wed Oct 15, 2003 4:35 am

The issue that intrigues me, and that nobody has explored enough for my taste is that people seem more interested in bringing an arena to town than improving city services. The bus system is faltering, the schools are bad, and crime is a problem. These are only some of the most obvious problems, and it seems to me that an arena debt(on top of the one we already have) could only compound these problems, and certainly does nothing to combat them, except hope, upon the optimistic basis of case studies in cities that are not Kansas City, that economic development will follow it. Even if development does follow it, it'll still take longer to pay it off and enjoy profit than the arena will last.

It seems to me that the city needs to confront the issues that face our city before they take a drastic, ill-informed step that could, and probably would only mire us more deeply into trouble. The city would benefit hugely by ridding itself of the problems it has, prior to taking on new responsibilities. It's the smart way to run your checkbook, and a small business. Why don't these simple principles and duties seem to translate into economies of scale?

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Postby KCPowercat » Wed Oct 15, 2003 7:45 am

bahua.....is it really a choice.....multiple things can be done at the same time. City services are improving....crime is dropping, the school district is actually improving some, and hopefully with either MARC's smartmoves or the ATA itself can fix it's problems.....


Do we have to have a perfectly running city before we get "fun stuff"?
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Postby bahua » Wed Oct 15, 2003 8:41 am

Definitely not, but the "fun stuff" doesn't necessarily have to cost the city so much. Kansas City can become a world-class city that developers approach for permission to build things like arenas, skating rinks, and movie theaters, at little or no cost to the city. In this case, it seems like the city is saying:

Phase one: build arena
Phase two: ?
Phase three: profit!

I know it isn't that simple, but they really do seem to be putting the cart before the horse. If Nevada, MO built a $200 million arena, a lively area wouldn't spring up around it. Arenas and other civic wonders are things that come after success, and while they do often offer a microcosm os success in their immediate area, the real impact is seen when normal folks are getting jobs, buying homes, and sending their kids to college. Offices and businesses raise land values, job salaries, and the overall quality of life.

That's when the NBA will come to Kansas City and say that they'd like to see a team installed here. That's when the NHL will come to town.

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Postby KCPowercat » Wed Oct 15, 2003 8:56 am

I think we're getting to a point where developers do want to come downtown, which is why they are exploring an entertainment district along with the arena.
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Postby bahua » Wed Oct 15, 2003 9:32 am

And I say why not an arena proposed and mostly funded by someone else, along with that development? It can happen, and will, if KC plays its cards right.

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Postby QueSi2Opie » Wed Oct 15, 2003 10:41 am

bahua wrote:And I say why not an arena proposed and mostly funded by someone else, along with that development? It can happen, and will, if KC plays its cards right.


When? Another decade from now? I understand that some of you are content with the current progress of this city, but I'm not. I travel outside KC all the time and see how far we really are behind other cities. It's embarrassing, and I'm embarrassed. Other major urban cities confront the same problems we do with crime and poor urban schools, yet they still seem to get enough shit done to make the city attractive for businesses, residents and visitors. I'M TIRED OF F#CKING WAITING!!! :evil:
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Postby mean » Wed Oct 15, 2003 12:49 pm

When? Another decade from now?


If Kansas City would make the right choices, it could happen sooner than that. Within a decade, easy. But it will take a while for the progress we're making now to counter fifty years of neglect. That's just how it is.

On a side note, I was looking at Pittsburgh's "across the river from downtown" stadium, and thinking it was a kinda cool idea.
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Postby GRID » Wed Oct 15, 2003 12:51 pm

QueSi2Opie wrote:
bahua wrote:And I say why not an arena proposed and mostly funded by someone else, along with that development? It can happen, and will, if KC plays its cards right.


When? Another decade from now? I understand that some of you are content with the current progress of this city, but I'm not. I travel outside KC all the time and see how far we really are behind other cities. It's embarrassing, and I'm embarrassed. Other major urban cities confront the same problems we do with crime and poor urban schools, yet they still seem to get enough shit done to make the city attractive for businesses, residents and visitors. I'M TIRED OF F#CKING WAITING!!! :evil:


Couldn't agree more.


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