We’ll start this one off by acknowledging that all signs currently are pointing to the eventual (and by “eventual,” we mean sooner rather than later) resolution of the labor dispute. But that fact serves only to make the league’s position on the following point even more confusing.
A new item from Bill Briggs of msnbc.com focuses on the local impact of lost games due to the lockout. It widely has been accepted that, if all or part of the 2011 NFL season is scrapped because of labor unrest, the cities and states that host franchises will lose a lot money, as will the local businesses that otherwise would rent rooms, cook food, and serve various legal beverages (and maybe a few illegal ones) to the folks in town for the games.
The NFLPA* estimates that $20 million will be forfeited for each canceled game. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, per Briggs, previously called the estimate a “fairy tale.” More recently, Aiello forwarded to msnbc.com an article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution and politifact.com, which concludes that “there will be little economic impact if there is no NFL action next season. . . . [P]eople will find other ways to spend their money.”
That’s fine. But how does that position support the argument that the construction of a stadium with public money results in a significant infusion of cash into the local economy? If “people will find other ways to spend their money,” then they’ll spend their money with or without a publicly-funded football stadium.
The good news for the NFL, if there is any, is that the position articulated in the article quoted above is so ludicrous that no one will take it seriously. The better news is that the entire issue of lockout losses could soon be irrelevant.
That said, the NFL could be forced to confront the notion that “people will find other ways to spend their money” whenever an NFL team is trying to get the public to pay for all or part of that swanky new venue being proposed for, say, Arden Hills.