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Almost every month brings another attention-grabbing headline about a city or country considering a bid for a major sporting or entertainment event. Politicians, business executives, and excited fans weigh in about the possible costs and benefits, with limited numbers provided about the possible economic impact, and even less said about how these numbers were calculated. Most recently, LeBron James’ return to Cleveland was estimated by Bloomberg to boost the city’s economy by $215 million annually, while Cuyahoga County’s projections were more than double this number. A concert of Jay-Z and Beyonce in Baltimore in 2013 was estimated by the local newspapers to have an economic impact of between $20 million and $40 million. In these cases (as with so many others), these numbers were highly debated and many of our management colleagues were quick to dismiss the estimated size of the impact. Yet, as we get distracted by the discussion of how high the impact of a particular sport or entertainment event might be, we lose track of the more important question: What lessons can sport and entertainment executives learn from these studies? The first author of this article has been involved with over 50 sport industry economic impact studies, including analyses of the NBA All-Star game, the Dallas Cowboys’ new stadium, the NCAA Men’s Final Four basketball tournament, Singapore Grand Prix Formula 1 race, and the India Premier League, to name a few.


Reprinted with permission from FiT Publishing, publisher of the Sport & Entertaimnent Review Journal, page 1 (1), 15-19,2015.

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