05 April 2007

49ers Economic Impact Report

I've had a chance to read the 49ers' 24-page economic impact report, and I've come to one conclusion:
  • It's irrelevant when applied to the A's situation.
Other coverage of the report has brought up how optimistic the direct and indirect impact projections are, thanks to use of the multiplier effect. The plan looks good when framed as beneficial to Santa Clara City and County. Patterns of spending within the City are used as an argument against "displacement," or the tendency of one particular form of entertainment (football) to divert disposable income away from other forms (movies, music, other sports, etc.).

The County-specific focus makes the study somewhat flawed. While there would be positive impact on Santa Clara City and County, it's essentially the same base of 49ers fans moving south. The Bay Area as a whole wouldn't be affected significantly, except that a new stadium would bring in a large number of construction jobs for the construction period. At least the study doesn't take into account potential windfalls from ancillary development, since that is an unknown at this point.

The study isn't applicable to the A's situation because unlike the Niners, the A's are staying in the same county. Assuming that both the new ballpark and football stadium end up publicly-owned, there would be no new property taxes associated with either facility. Sales taxes on materials used in construction could be beneficial, but that depends on whether Wolff is aiming for a rebate or waiver, which can't be ruled out.

A place like Blackhawk, where many athletes are known to live, is equidistant from both the Coliseum and the Cisco Field site based on driving distances. So it's likely that Billy Beane (and, er, Joe Morgan) would stay there. Palo Alto would substitute for the Marina district. Santana Row would as well to a lesser extent. (Perhaps Stanley Burrell's old house in the Fremont hills is available.) In other words, not much impact from player and front office relocations - especially if any relocations happen within Alameda County.

Of course, studies of this type generally don't take a macro view. They're designed to convince specific elected officials and placate their constituents. Due to the complexity of the ballpark village concept, I expect the Wolff study to have a slightly different tenor, such as highlighting positive indirect impact while accentuating how the project won't affect the public coffers. The Niners, who are seeking public funding of some kind, stayed far away from any kind of cost-benefit analysis.


Bleacher Dave said...

Joe Morgan doesn't live off of Skyline anymore? The big "M" was still on the gate.

Anonymous said...

The impact of a major league baseball team is multiples of an NFL team on a community. The 49er study is a plus for the A's coming to the area.