Sunday, March 30, 2014

How much does baseball’s Spring Training help Florida’s economy? |

The Palm Beach Post comes out swinging against Spring baseball, but fails to get a base hit in this hit piece. They compare tourism growth rates of metropolitan and smaller areas over the past five years and declare that areas without Spring training stadiums teams do better than areas with teams. They might have identified a statistical correlation, but they fail to prove a cause and effect relationship. The editorial points out that today's Florida has diversified its economy and it tourism offering beyond Spring baseball, which might be the case.

However, as it applies to Lake Worth, we have that "great potential" everyone talks about but we are having trouble putting together the building blocks to become a destination again. Has the beach renovation improved tourist traffic through our city? It may help surrounding hotels that aren't in Lake Worth, but since we have no reputable hotel in the city, other than small bed and breakfasts, it stretches reality that we are really experiencing the economic benefit that was touted for the beach project. I'll have to check with owner of the Ixora and the Silver Lions motels to see if their occupancy rates have improved since the opening of the beach project.

But back to baseball. I grew up in Michigan and was obliged to be a Tiger fan. The Detroit Tigers have always played their Spring ball in Lakeland. It is quite a tradition and there are people that make the trek to Lakeland every year to escape a Michigan winter and enjoy watching the boys of summer play ball. An addition of a two team stadium within our economic watershed would layer another reason, on top of other reasons, to visit the Lake Worth area. It would likely be a catalyst for the development of other hotels that would exponentially grow our tourist economy as the city would be capturing money that is now spent elsewhere in terms of lodging, entertainment and meals. It surely wouldn't hurt.

Now, I am not sold on John Prince Park as being the ideal location, but there are other options, like the A G Holley site, that would bolster the economic offerings of the area. And, for me, it really depends on the design of the stadium area and how it might fit on the PBCC campus, north of 6th Avenue South. There are people here who don't want to talk about any possibility and just listen to themselves talk. That sort of energy keeps Lake Worth at the bottom of the heap in south Florida's economy.

Click title for link. Interesting to read, but not a scientific economic analysis to be sure.


Longtime Post reader said...

Mr. Ostrowski's specialty is business and insurance reporting. And he's very good. But in this piece he clearly began with a conclusion and with the following text bolstering his argument. Like having a debate without an opponent.

This is not a news story. Read the first 3 paragraphs. It's an opinion piece clearly.

The Post didn't do itself any favors publishing this.

Kim said...

The South Florida Business Journal would never publish this nonsense. The Post will. Desperate for content are we?

Anonymous said...

I think the point of the article is that these projects that benefit very wealth baseball team owners at the expense of tax payers might not pay off in the way we've been promised. Look at the Miami Marlins stadium boondoggle.

I think it is really hard to document the pay off of any tax funded project unless you have a precise number you are tracking.

Let's look at the money that was given to the Publix project here in Lake Worth. Has that money paid off? I have no idea as I don't know what was being tracked. Personally, I very much like the new Publix, I use it all the time, the parking lot it almost always busy and full, but if we don't have a plan to track the dollars we don't know if its a success or not.

Same could be said for the beach, although I would argue that a recreational facility should be tracked differently than a business facility. Not sure how a spring training facility would factor in.

I'm with you in that I like the Lantana location, already utilized as baseball facility, on a 4 lane road and could be incorporated into the new development like the facility in Abacoa.

Migs said...

Hey anonymous about Pubix. You go there all the time. You state the parking lot is full most of the time, true. And your not sure if it's a success or not? Publix was "lured" to Lake Worth brainiac. Publix took a huge risk opening a store in downtown.

Jayson Blair said...

So are we to conclude from the Post's story this: Jupiter would increase tourism if the Cardinals and Marlins found another home, like Arizona. Makes sense to me.

HomeRunPbc said...

You will find this interesting. Those facts the Post reports are from backup residents of PBG used and made all this mess to start with. Even the charts. Why the grapefruit league is such a threat is puzzling. Even more puzzling a Post reporter going all in.

Anonymous said...

News is Opinion. Opinion is Advocacy.

Advocacy is News. Opinion is News.

Thank God for blogs.

How much for an ostrowski these days. Section D, Business, above the fold.

Whoring credibility for what?

Anonymous said...

So it sounds like when the CRA gives money it doesn't track any outcome. Not surprising.

Anonymous said...

The sidewalks are much better in that area now, the streets are paved, that entire area looks 100% better. What kind of tracking are you looking for?

Anonymous said...

Let's look at the beach/casino project. We, as a city (and county since they gave us money too) spent a ton of money on that project. How do we now turn around and track tourist/business dollars generated by that project. Do we measure success at the beach by the parking statistics? Is someone keeping track of out of state plates? I don't see how either side can advocate for a project based on increasing tourism dollars without knowing how to measure that.