Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Media coverage within those US Cities contending for the 2024 Olympics

Recently, I wrote about the organization of a bid by DC interests for the 2024 Olympics ("(Not enough time for a) 2024 DC-Baltimore Olympic Bid (to make sense").

Generally, I say, "don't believe the hype," in terms of all the purported economic benefits ("Big sporting events (World Cup/Olympics), economic development and trickle down economics").

However, I am not against a bid if it would truly add in significant ways to the metropolitan's infrastructure and array of civic assets long term.  I wrote about that in the context of Chicago's bid for the Olympics back in 2009 ("The Olympics and the opportunity for local improvements").

However/2, I certainly don't want DC to end up having to "host" the Washington Redskins football team in a new stadium, because football stadiums and the teams within contribute very little economically to a community. If Prince George's County, Maryland didn't have an admissions tax on each ticket, the County would net little revenue otherwise.

It's interesting to compare the media coverage and activities of other bidding organizations in San Boston, San Francisco.  So far the Boston Globe has published the most about their bid, compared to media in LA and SF (although according to a recent column in the Chronicle by Willie Brown, the Mayor and department heads in SF are actively engaged in the developing the bid, which doesn't appear to be the case in DC)..

Over the past week especially, the Globe has published a bunch of stories recently, including how the local organization has created a virtual mapping-planning tool to assist their efforts ("High-tech tool to help make case for Boston Olympics").

But they've also published an op-ed by sports economist and professor Andrew Zimbalist ("Let Boston 2024 pay for the Olympics") stating that hard questions need to be asked about the benefits of such an event locally, vis-a-vis the claims.

That's not the kind of article we're likely to see in the Washington Post.  Then again, the region's most prominent academic sports economists are based in Baltimore and less likely to be published in the Post.

While researching something I'll be writing about later, I was looking at the various papers by Wolfgang Maennig, an economist at the University of Hamburg .  One his papers is a detailed analysis of the employment effects of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta ("Employment Effects of the Olympic Games in Atlanta 1996 Reconsidered," International Journal of Sport Finance.  He analyzed that particular Olympics because the sponsoring organization made a point to collect detailed data.

They found that there were short-term employment effects during the Olympics specifically, in retail and hospitality sectors only--29,000 jobs in Fulton County during the month of the Olympics--but they found no substantive long-term effects. This was counter to other academic studies which analyzed the event. They attribute the difference to the use of more detailed monthly employment data, as opposed to other gross-grained data sets.

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