10 May 2005

NY Times: Impact of a Stadium article

For those that want a non-propagandistic view of the economic impact of sports venues, take a look at Robin Pogrebin's May 7th article from the Arts & Design section of the NY Times. Several individuals from both sides of the divide were interviewed, including Jay Cross, who headed the Air Canada Centre and American Airlines Arena projects. He is currently working on the mammoth Jets stadium project on the West Side of Manhattan. Some interesting (and relatively refreshing) quotes from Cross:

Cross... cautioned that a stadium could not shoulder the entire burden of reviving a neighborhood. "One building can't do it on its own," he said.


The stadium's impact, he added, would take time to determine.

"You've got to give it 20 years," he said. "You've got to be patient. They can help neighborhoods," he said of stadiums, "but they're not instant panaceas. They will neither repel housing or attract it. There still needs to be a bona fide reason to build housing or commercial space as part of a well-thought-through package, because it's largely market driven."

"Times Square had all the good will to clean it up," he continued. "But it needed developers to make commitments."

Keep in mind that the Jets stadium is a multi-use facility which will also function as an extension of the Javits Convention Center, as well as a centerpiece should New York win the 2012 Olympics. Without those, the stadium would have only 8-10 automatically scheduled dates per year in the form of football games. A ballpark would schedule over 10 times that number - 81 games or more. However, even that expanded schedule has holes: 3 months of games spread out over a 6 month span, and what happens during the offseason? Without some guarantee of traffic during that down period in the fall and winter, developers will be hesitant to make commitments.