Economist: NBA Teams Don't Do Much for Economy

Brian Hendrickson of the Vancouver Columbian quotes Smith College economics professor Andrew Zimbalist, author of several books on sports economics:

"Generally speaking, you can't anticipate an economic benefit," Zimbalist said. "You get other benefits, but not economic benefits."

"It's kind of subjective," Zimbalist said. "How do people feel -- I know right now they don't feel great about (Paul) Allen and the Trail Blazers -- but how do they feel in general about having a basketball team in their community?

"It's at that level that it needs to be evaluated rather than some notion that having the team is going to turn you into a first-class city or make your per-capita income go up by thousands of dollars."

And the article also includes this:

"It is kind of difficult to figure out," said David Carter, professor of sports business at the University of Southern California. "You have to get to the heart of whether these fans -- whether they're corporations with luxury suites or club seats or what have you, or the everyday fans and season-ticket holders -- if they would otherwise still spend, but on other sports and entertainment. Then the downside is mitigated quite a bit."

Some believe the presence of an NBA team can have an economic impact by functioning as a magnet for luring new employees by improving the quality of life.

But an informal survey of high-profile companies in Portland and Vancouver suggested the Blazers' presence has little impact on recruiting new employees from other areas.