So now that Los Angeles isn't going to have a football team anytime soon, what was really lost?
Although there are a variety of opinions on the overall economic impact of an NFL team on L.A.'s coffers, probably the most significant impact can be boiled down to two words: Super Bowl.
The decision of the NFL to award its 32nd franchise to Houston reduces to almost nil the chances that L.A. will anytime soon host what is arguably the biggest, most lucrative single event in American sports.
Lost in the local outcry over NFL demands that the city pony up public funds to help pay to bring a team here is the fact that the league often rewards successful bids by awarding the Super Bowl to those cities.
"The owners use the Super Bowl to pay back cities that put up public funds," said Kathryn Schloessman, president of the L.A. Sports & Entertainment Commission, a public agency dedicated to bringing events to the city.
With that single exception, the economic boost from building a stadium, hiring workers and selling merchandise is debatable.
Some point out that much of the employment generated is either short-term, in the case of the construction jobs, or low-wage, in the case of stadium vendors, who only work nine or 10 games a year. As for money spent on food, sweatshirts and the like, much of it would be end up in the local economy anyway, albeit elsewhere.
"It wouldn't have made the kind of economic change to the (Coliseum) area that the Staples Center would because you're not using it 300 times a year," said Ed Roski Jr., one of the bidders for an L.A. franchise.
Taxes are collected from ticket sales and player salaries, but that's just a small proportion of overall tax revenue. "The economic benefit of the team itself, on an ongoing basis, is like dropping a pebble in the ocean," said Jack Kyser, chief economist at the L.A. Economic Development Corp. "It's not much."
But others say the money from team salaries cannot be dismissed, nor can the benefit from the visibility generated by showing off L.A. to a national audience several times a year.
"Obviously it has an impact, from hotels, taxi cabs, souvenirs," said Roy Weinstein, chairman of Micronomics Inc., an economic research firm in Santa Monica. "These would be incremental revenues because people would come to see games from out of town. More than that, having a football team on national television creates an interest in the town. It's freezing back East, and the sun is out here. Having that exposure is tremendously valuable to the local market."
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