Sunday, July 11, 2010


            You’ve all heard about it: the doomsday scenario.  Broadcast on ESPN nightly for the world to make false assumptions.  Now that LeBron has left, not only will every man, woman and child in the Cleveland area commit suicide by jumping off the top of Tower City, but those who survive will be faced with an economy worse than that of the Great Depression.  My first reaction to that is “please, Cleveland always has and always will be a football town, LeBron just made us forget about that for a little while.”  My second reaction is “will the local economy really suffer so badly now that the King is gone?”  Let’s take a look at the facts.
According to Joe Roman, CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership (the single largest business coalition within the city), "the Northeastern Ohio economy is $180 billion in scale.  It is the 12th or 13th largest regional marketplace in the United States, and no matter whose number you use in terms of a projection of the economic value of either the Cavaliers or LeBron James pales by comparison to that number.”
The city of Cleveland’s tourism group, Positively Cleveland, claims that each Cavaliers home game used to produce around $3.7 million, which translates to $150 million for the entire season. There are also $2 billion in new investments around the city, including the construction of luxury loft housing near Quicken Loans Arena.  Let’s assume that a LeBron-less Cavaliers team still manages to sell around 70% of home games throughout next year.  Considering that the luxury lofts are still being built, that’s only a mere millions of dollars per season that local bars and restaurants won’t be generating, a far cry from the $180 billion that the Greater Cleveland Partnership claims for the area.  
In summary, I’m sure there will be an economic downturn in the wake of LeBron’s departure, especially felt by the bars, restaurants and hotels in the area surrounding the arena.  However, there is no way that the economic effects of LeBron’s decision to skip town are anywhere close to the scale ESPN is reporting – there will be no economic “collapse,” just a slight economic downturn, barely noticeable on the scale of the area’s total economy. 

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