I would like to say, for the record, that I had no desire to talk about LeBron James. However, my daughter kept asking me if I was going to “write an article about how this hurts or helps the economy.” So, I did what any other father of a 12 year old daughter would do when asked for something by the aforementioned daughter….I said “no” at first; but found myself doing it later on.
I’m sure that you are tired of hearing the LeBron James saga; I know I am. I am tired of hearing about the impact on both teams; the shift in the balance of power of the NBA; the championships that may be won. Bigger than all of these, potentially, is the economic impact.
A recent article in the Plain Dealer (June 28, 2010: Robert Schoenberger) took a stab at calculating what the financial impact would be. Locally, you have to think that Cavs games will not have as many fans. The decrease in fan attendance in games means that fewer fans are hitting bars and restaurants before and after games. It only makes sense. Fewer patrons equal fewer revenues!
Jersey sales, and salesperson’s, will also be impacted. LeBron’s jersey is amongst the most popular in all sports. The cost of the jersey, not 24 hours after LeBron announced his decision, has already dropped significantly. LeBron also now goes to a state where he doesn’t have to pay income tax. This, of course, means less money collected by/for the government. Some suggest that the value of the Cavaliers franchise dropped over 200 million dollars once the “decision” was made public!
I had hoped that he would stay in Cleveland, for selfish reasons. I envisioned some ticket taker or street vendor lying in his bed at night, praying to God that LeBron stayed, because there may not be as many fans, jobs, the need for street vendors, if he didn’t.
I lived in Michigan for a number of years. I watched as the (then) Big 3 was crippled when the economy went south. It wasn’t just the Big 3 though. It was the deli owner who got the majority of his patrons and revenues from autoworkers. It was the cable television company that lost customers, because the out of work autoworkers no longer could pay for service. It was the gas station owner who was no longer receiving after work traffic. It was the bar owner who depended on the autoworkers to come and eat popcorn, have drinks, and spend money.
In short, an already challenged economy may have been set back by “The Decision.”
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