The Cherry Picking of the Economic Impact Study of Angels Baseball

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The OC Register’s Marty Wisckol did a solid job of reporting the story of the recently completed economic impact study on Angels baseball and where it fell short.  Detractors of the team and the City’s negotiations with owner Arte Moreno jumped on the story with gusto.

There are three takeaways from the stories in the Register and the one we published this morning and OJ blogger Greg Diamond’s take: a more detailed study is needed that fully addresses revenues and costs; that even a Chapman University economist said there is an economic benefit to having the Angels; and the willingness of Diamond to put words in council member Jordan Brandman’s mouth that he didn’t say.

First things first.  A $30,000 study isn’t nearly enough money to answer all of the questions needed to get a clear picture of the economic impact of having a major league baseball team in Anaheim.  Texas-based Conventions, Sports and Leisure is somehow portrayed, by Diamond, as being hired to provide a slanted report complete with a quote from Andrew Zimbalist, an author at a competitive Think Tank called The Drake Group and a professor at Smith College.  Zimbalist’s signature work, “Sports, Jobs and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums” was written in 1997.  Now Zimbalist is no slouch, but there are more recently academic studies on this issue.

According to Diamond, the key statement in the Register’s story is this:  “Based on everything else I’ve seen CSL do, this is a promotional study,” said Andrew Zimbalist, co-author of “Sports, Jobs and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums.” “If CSL came out with a study that said Anaheim had no positive economic impact, they wouldn’t get any more work.”

I disagree.

CSL is very likely the nation’s leading firm when it comes to planning and consulting services to the convention center and sports stadiums/ballparks/arenas, and other entertainment industries (speedways) market.  CSL’s client list is pretty amazing.  CSL clients include 31 existing or prospective NFL stadiums (including two in Southern California), 37 college and university stadiums (Baylor, Michigan State, Michigan, Penn State, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Missouri, Arizona State, Kansas, South Carolina, Washington, Colorado, West Virginia and Notre Dame.  They also include the Rose Bowl as a client.

For soccer, CSL has 23 clients in the pros including Manchester, UK, Juarez, Mexico and Sao Paulo, Brazil, as well as six new MLS stadiums in the US.  CSL represents 58 municipal arenas, 37 of which are proposed.   They represent 42 NBA/NHL arenas including the Staples Center and the Honda Center, 30 collegiate arenas, 53 minor league ballparks/stadiums, and 29 major league baseball parks including a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays which began play in 1998 — the year after the last renovation of Angels Stadium.  The Rays are building a new ballpark 15 seasons after they began play in their old one.  The CSDL list of convention center clients and amateur sports complexes is pretty impressive and long.

Now according to the Register’s story, the study “makes generalized assumptions on consumer behaviors based on studies in other major league cities and uses formulas disputed by other economists. The zip codes of ticket buyers were reviewed but no Angels-game attendees were interviewed” and “Several economists and city officials interviewed said they believed that the team does provide civic and financial benefits for the city.”

CSL told the Register that Anaheim asked for a report that could account for the money generated by the Angels, but the report did not offer associated city expenses. In that respect the city got what it paid for.  A new, more detailed and likely more expensive study that interviews Angels-game attendees is needed for a more accurate picture.

From the Register’s story:  “The 12-page report credits the team with generating $204 million in new spending in the city and $4.7 million in annual revenue for the city treasury. The Register found that using the consultant’s assumptions, net city revenue drops to about $2.3 million when the expenses are accounted for.”  So there’s still a positive economic impact once expenses are accounted for.

Now Diamond make much of Chapman University economist Esmael Adibi’s findings but neglects to state the economic impact report he conducted on the Angels was completed in 1996.  This was before the last big stadium renovation and Diamond missed this key statement from Adibi:

“There’s no question there’s a positive economic impact,” Adibi said. “The question is what it is. And there’s no question that there are firms that do this kind of work and maybe it would be better to go to academics.”

Diamond cherry picked the Register’s story.

If I take any issue with the city it’s that they should have provided a bigger budget, more specifics and better timing for the research.  This sort of research should be done from April to July, when the team is certainly still in contention and interest is high.  And questions need to happen from the fans attending games as well as local hotels, shops, bars and eateries.

So even the Chapman economist says there’s a positive economic impact but determining what exactly it is isn’t easy.

From the Register: “Adibi’s 1996 study found that total new spending countywide, thanks to the Angels, was $106 million – or $160 million in 2013 dollars. He said increases in ticket prices and other costs that have exceeded inflation could conceivably bring that amount to the Texas consultant’s conclusion of $204 million – but for the entire county, not just for Anaheim as estimated in the $30,000 report by CSL.”

Since Diamond loves to use bold, italics and colors to emphasize his points, he calls “bullshit” on the report after cherry picking the Register’s story.  He does inadequate research on CSL and paints an inaccurate picture of council member Jordan Brandman while making an argument for morality, immorality and amorality?

Let’s take apart Diamond’s list on Brandman (the pronoun “he” in the questions refers to Brandman):

  • That he is fully convinced of the Texas report’s findings.  (I am too; they reached the conclusions they did with the instructions they had; CSL was asked to gauge economic impact by revenue generated from the Angels, not assess the net after expenses.  The report should have been more extensive but the fault of this lies with who commissioned the report from City Hall, not CSL.)
  • That he absolutely believes them. (There is no reason not too; you can debate issues like hotel occupancy on tickets but I sure believe it occurs.  I try to see games in other cities when traveling on business.  If 9/11 didn’t happen, I had Braves tickets in Atlanta I was looking forward to using. I’m not the only one who does this and it’s not at all uncommon).
  • That this is because they are a reputable source. (They certainly are based on years in business and client list; CSL has a solid business reputation.  If they didn’t, there is no way they’d have the business they do now and have a considerable number of clients who have pending projects; define reputable Diamond?  Is Mr. Fitzgerald, with his anti-Semitic and homophobic rants on behalf of a fake non-profit, reputable?  Are jailbirds Jason Young and Vern Nelson, who admitted to drinking a couple of beers with Mayor Tait, reputable?  They are when you push blog posts for promotion.  I’ll take CSL over the Clown Car anyday.)
  • That he respects the Chapman University economist cited by the Register. (So do I.  The economist said the Angels have a positive economic impact on the community and I agree).
  • That he nevertheless dismisses that economist’s statements out of hand. (He did not; he acknowledged it.  You’re putting words in his mouth he never said.  And I call bullshit on Diamond for suggesting it).
  • That he respects people’s right to disagree. (We should all respect people’s right to disagree).
  • That economists always disagree so the disagreement doesn’t bother him. (Brandman said, “Economists do it (disagree) all the time.” He didn’t say they always disagree.  He said they do, because economists do, in fact, disagree.  All one has to do to confirm that is read different economist’s views on Healthcare Reform. For example, it’s true that Tom Tait drinks with a convicted drunk driver.  But it’s not true that Tait might have said, “another beer Vern?” Let’s not put words in anyone’s mouth).
  • That the study is solid. (As solid as it could be; another one is needed that is more detailed).
  • That he believes it. (On the main point, that the Angels contribute positive economic benefits to Anaheim and Orange County, so do I and so does Chapman’s Adibi).

Diamond concludes: “(One final note to my friends from my political party: if you think that we want ours to be a party that supports bullshit, I disagree with you.  I think that rejecting bullshit is the only way that we survive as anything resembling actual Democrats in difficult terrain like Orange County’s.)

On this point, I couldn’t agree with Diamond more.  It’s bullshit that he continues to promote a conservative Republican mayor who holds views completely contrary to the position of the Democratic Party on just abut everything.  Diamond has even called for “as few personal attacks on each (Tait and Galloway) as possible.” I’m sorry, but this is someone who holds a position of authority in DPOC telling people not to attack a conservative Republican mayor, who openly supports a conservative Republican mayor for election to the Anaheim city council for 2014, and routinely goes after the highest vote-getter in the 2012 election — an elected Democrat?  Support Republicans for offices that are truly non-partisan, like school board, but in a partisan race shouldn’t a DPOC official be on the side of Democrats?

As far as Brandman vs. Tait — on TV no less — Diamond asks for who decided on CSL based on what reputation simply demonstrates he thinks their some tiny consultant someone and clearly didn’t research the international clientele CSL has.  Sloppy.  The rest of his diatribe is frankly insincere.  No amount of study, facts or alternate opinions will sway Diamond from not polishing Tait’s very tarnished armor.

There was once a lot to like about Tom Tait, with an emphasis on the word “was.”  His own party recognizes his weakness.  His former political allies recognize his weakness.  And Tait’s acquisition of a new drinking buddy should please members of M.A.D.D. to no end.

 

 

 

  29 comments for “The Cherry Picking of the Economic Impact Study of Angels Baseball

  1. November 4, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    “…admitted to having a couple of beers with Mayor Tait.”

    Um,…. so the hell what??

  2. Dan Chmielewski
    November 4, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Did I say something factually incorrect Vern?

  3. November 4, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    No, I had a couple of beers with Mayor Tait just like I said, to talk about this new mayoral conflict. Who cares? That’s what men do. I wasn’t driving.

    There’s so much stupid in this piece, I’m surprised Greg or Cynthia haven’t been here yet, but if they don’t show up, I’ll do plenty here.

  4. Greg Diamond
    November 4, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Nah, not much reason for me to be here, Vern. All that slapping sort of tickles.

    I may go fisk this one back on our site, though. I do prefer to write for larger readership.

    I will give you a talking point, though: I’ll bet that Dan doesn’t even know the methodological attack that I made on the CSL study — after I heard the guy from there explain his methodology about three yards away from me.

    And, I’ll suggest a strategy. Dan may not have figured out yet that h’s sudden concession that a “new, more detailed and likely more expensive study that interviews Angels-game attendees is needed for a more accurate picture” of the Angels’ impact on Anaheim undercuts what I vaguely recall were his firm conclusions that this was a good deal with the county — perhaps even lining up behind my “it depends upon the price!” banner. If I were feeling mean, I’d go back and review all of his statements and evaluate them in light of this concession, but I’m not masochistic enough.

    Dan also may not have realized that the implication of his conclusion — that CSL did nothing wrong, but simply asked for the wrong study to be done — is that whoever at the City put in the order to analyze gross revenues rather than net revenues is either a borderline imbecile OR was intentionally trying to generate plausible sounding results so as to snooker the public. Which it was, I can’t say — but both are pretty damning! One might want to explore how this happened. Maybe Dan can ask his friend Brandman to sound the alarm. (Why wouldn’t he do so, after all? Ha-ha.)

    My hope remains that Brandman’s political soul can be saved. Maybe working in Ian Calderon’s office while that family’s empire collapses in shame will help. If Pringle becomes beleaguered enough — and I, unlike Dan, am set on beleaguering him — Brandman may well want to jump ship. He’ll be a better person, as well as a better Democrat, if and when that happens.

    (OJB readers, I’ll cross-post this back home. Along with one I’ve been saving.)

  5. November 4, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    Oh, and Dan still hasn’t gotten around to asking Jordan why he put the racist Amanda Edinger onto the Districting Commission, as he promised Ricardo long ago he would. I’m sure Dan has just been too busy, or has forgotten and needs to be reminded.

  6. Dan Chmielewski
    November 4, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Vern/Greg – so many things to respond to. Vern, you have a problem with alcohol. Get help. You shouldn’t be drinking. Period. Thank goodness you aren’t driving. But since you know the inside of a jail cell and I don’t should be reason enough to question the mayors judgement for having a few beers with you. Greg, the belittle meant from you is tiring. I sign the front of pay checks and know the difference between gross and net. I am all for making sure a good and comprehensive study is done. But let’s underscore you didn’t do your homework on CSL. Do us a favor Greg. Resign your DPOC job. You do Democrats here no favors by promoting Tait’s weak and ineffective “leadership.”

  7. Dan Chmielewski
    November 4, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    Greg, why do you continue to lie and attribute things to Jordan that he never said?

  8. Greg Diamond
    November 4, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Accusing me of lying, Dan? It looks like you finally figured out the meaning of defamation — and wanted to give it a whirl. If our roles were reversed, I’d probably be threatening you with a lawsuit over it — and then failing to come through when challenged. Happily, I’m not you — and I know that showing actual damages would mean having to prove in court that people took what you wrote seriously. That’s a pretty steep hill.

    It would still be easier that your trying to prove that my accusing you of bull*****ing (I know how you hate profanity) would harm you in your chosen profession, though.

    I notice that, characteristically, that’s a very general statement. You may think inures you from challenge because there are no specifics there for me to attack. So I invite you to spell out exactly where you think I’m “lying” about Jordan. Here’s a badly needed clue in that respect: what you did up above there — that’s not anywhere near good enough.

    (As for my quitting my DPOC position: you want me to abandon my quest to save young Jordan’s soul? What sort of monster are you?)

    (Oh wait — I just re-read your comments about Vern. Now I remember what sort of monster you are.)

    • November 5, 2013 at 8:42 am

      I just read your piece at OJ Greg. I’d like that five minutes of my life back. The difference between my post and yours — I am not going to suggest what I know you’re thinking. Your headline is inaccurate; I don’t think the CSL report sucks..I wish it was more detailed in an attempt to change your mind but there’s no changing it, is there.

      Jordan doesn’t need soul saving from you. I have spoken with him several times since his election and he’s never treated me any different than he did before.

      As an elected, Jordan has to work with Republicans on the council to accomplish anything. You’re a party official and your promotion of a conservative Republican mayor is downright shameful. You are in no position to lecture anyone on being a good Democrat

  9. November 4, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    You claim it’s a lie and “putting words in Jordan’s mouth” when Greg claimed Jordan “dismissed the report out of hand.”

    Duh. That’s exactly what Jordan did in his statement, whether he used those words or not. Weak…

  10. Cynthia Ward
    November 4, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    Dan, for once I agree with you about an aspect of the Stadium deal. We both agree that the CS and L report was entirely inadequate for determining revenues and benefits related to the team’s use of the stadium. It is painfully clear to us both that the City of Anaheim failed to either define the goals of the report, or budget enough to get what they need.

    Which leads to the question you have missed in your zeal to defend your boy.

    WHY did the Anaheim City Council push past the valid objections of the Mayor and assembled public, citing this report as their source for approval of the two MOUs, when anyone with even a passing knowledge of economic impact studies can see that this report is not sufficient to answer the many, many concerns regarding negotiations for Anaheim’s largest and most valuable asset? It is THAT decision by the City Council that makes me angry, Dan. Many of us questioned the assumptions being presented by staff, we asked where their reference information was coming from. We asked them to please delay until the next Council meeting so we could all have a chance to look over the materials. We were ignored by 4 leaders who were completely determined to do what they did that night. Information be damned. Indeed, despite my request for this report (referred to in the staff report but not provided as an attachment to the staff report in the Agenda packet) I was not given this document until a week after my request, days after the Council meeting had already determined the outcome and too late for a vetting of this information to influence the Council’s decision. That, sir, is what I am angry about. Can you explain that oversight by the Council? Can you explain their dismissal of the need to act as fiduciaries on behalf of the taxpayers?

    As far as the rest of your comments, I do not know what to say, Dan. Sadly not all of us can be as morally upright, pure, and wise as you seem to imagine yourself. Thankfully the Constitution provides for access to the system of government even for those who are flawed and imperfect. You may run down Tom Tait for having the audacity to be liked by those you find inferior, but I say it is his ability to reach out to people of all political views, and backgrounds, that makes him a great leader. Yes, Vern seems to have issues with one area of his life, can you tell me you have never struggled with a weakness? I have a habit of comforting myself with food (no surprise to anyone, given my size) does that mean I am so badly flawed that leaders should never speak to me? As a kid I did incredibly stupid things that should have sent me to jail many times over, I have no record only by the grace of God, because I was never caught. That does not make me morally superior to someone who DID get caught being young and stupid, and my struggle with food makes me the same sinner as Vern’s struggle with alcohol or your struggle with hubris. Come join the human race in our shared imperfection, Dan, and let’s see if we can find a way to work together to make Anaheim a better place to live, work, play, and enjoy a game of baseball.

    There was a time when you and I could agree to disagree, with respect, but I cannot respect the high and mighty attitude that lets you run people down personally because you disagree with them politically-or the attitude that lets you run down a political leader because of his support by those you find inferior. That same arrogant behavior is what is turning off citizens who once supported Jordan, we are watching a guy who used to be very nice, a guy who seemed to care about others, but he has become an utter snob who dismisses-and attacks-anyone who fails to go along with his “I know best” process. It is not pretty. Not on Jordan, not on you.

    But I am glad we could agree that the report the City based their wild giveaway decisions upon was inadequate for the purpose. Now whose fault is it they they used it anyway?

    • November 5, 2013 at 8:36 am

      Actually, I think the city got what it paid for with the CSL report. I believe the Angels represent a positive economic engine for the city and the county. By suggesting a more comprehensive report be done, I would hope the results might convince you and Diamond of the same thing but let’s be honest here; there’s no amount of information that is going to change your minds at all.

    • November 5, 2013 at 4:17 pm

      “Sadly not all of us can be as morally upright, pure, and wise as you seem to imagine yourself. Thankfully the Constitution provides for access to the system of government even for those who are flawed and imperfect. You may run down Tom Tait for having the audacity to be liked by those you find inferior, but I say it is his ability to reach out to people of all political views, and backgrounds, that makes him a great leader. Yes, Vern seems to have issues with one area of his life, can you tell me you have never struggled with a weakness? I have a habit of comforting myself with food (no surprise to anyone, given my size) does that mean I am so badly flawed that leaders should never speak to me? As a kid I did incredibly stupid things that should have sent me to jail many times over, I have no record only by the grace of God, because I was never caught. That does not make me morally superior to someone who DID get caught being young and stupid, and my struggle with food makes me the same sinner as Vern’s struggle with alcohol or your struggle with hubris”

      Cynthia, I have never claimed to be perfect. I’ve never been in trouble. I have never been arrested. I certainly have my weaknesses. But I tire of the “why don’t you see things our way” mentality of those who believe Tom Tait walks on water. He doesn’t. He’s a flawed leader who has lost control of those members of his party on the council and he is unable to control those who sing his praises the loudest. Anaheim is good working class families who have high standards and morals. Where are those people shouting down the council majority and defending Tait? What we have is a collection of finger puppeteers, jailbirds and bigots who somehow believe they’ll get their way with the council majority via grandstanding and snark. Tait would be better served if this clown car of supporters would follow your lead and present documented evidence to make their case. Sorry, I am not buying this notion Tom Tait is the real deal.

  11. November 5, 2013 at 5:03 am

    Cynthia, I think a bigger budget would have provided for a more comprehensive report, That said, even the 1996 analysis showed the Angels provide an economic benefit. But it really doesn’t matter how good or how comprehensive a report is conducted because you are perfectly comfortable with the team leaving which then creates an expensive, largely unused facility at the 57 and Katella.

  12. Gustavo Arellano
    November 5, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Dan trying to slime Tait for his supposed friendship with Vern is laughable given that Dan is openly pals with Matt Cunningham, who outed sex-abuse victims—and that Dan will get upset at me bringing up this inconvenient truth shows all you need to know about him, who’s turning into Bloviator Lite…

  13. November 5, 2013 at 8:34 am

    “Openly pals with Matt”; haven’t seen Matt personally since 2010. Talk to him on the phone a few times a year.

    Sorry, I’m not about to be lectured to by someone who promotes a radio talk host who beat up his wife after a company Christmas Party and is generally a misogynist; I only hope he learned something from his batterer’s program he had to attend to have assault charges dropped.

    And didn’t you defend someone who thought NAMBLA was funny…?

  14. henry lipton
    November 5, 2013 at 9:50 am

    Dan,
    That’s a real low blow and you should be ashamed of yourself for taking pot shots lie that. Its cheap and below the belt.

  15. henry lipton
    November 5, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Dan,
    that is a real low blow. You should be ashamed of yourself for taking such juvenile pot shots. Its cheap and below the belt. I am speaking of your commenting on someone else’s health problems.

    • November 5, 2013 at 10:54 am

      Well, I’m pretty sure I got a drunk text from him last week; if you feel this is a health problem, ask him why he’s not getting help for it

  16. Henry Lipton
    November 5, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Please don’t justify your behavior with juvenile reasoning like that. It is really in poor taste. And again, taking a below the belt swipe at someone’s health problem like that is cheap and should be beneath you, as it should be for any adult your age.

    • November 5, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      Vern says there’s no problem; if you think there is one, take it up with him.

  17. BigBoxOfRedWhine
    November 5, 2013 at 11:30 am

    After our prior dialog, I took your comments to heart, particularly about baseball knowledge, as I don’t follow the sport, and have been spending several weeks (with more to follow) immersed in Google, Wikipedia, MLB.com, and other online sources to close that gap. During that time, with the usual overflow of search results, I came across a few things that looked interesting or useful, but peripheral. Here is one of them, a study BY THE SAME COMPANY, CS&L, for San Jose, seeking an MLB franchise.
    http://www.sjredevelopment.org/ballpark/meetings/092409/SanJosePresentation092109.pdf

    Granted not the same situation, not the same length, but a great example of the depth, breadth and CONTEXT that the SAME COMPANY can provide when DIRECTED, or asked the right questions. I will let it speak for itself.

  18. BigBoxOfRedWhine
    November 5, 2013 at 11:32 am

    After our prior dialog, I took your comments to heart, particularly about baseball knowledge, as I don’t follow the sport, and have been spending several weeks (with more to follow) immersed in Google, Wikipedia, MLB.com, Forbes ‘Business of Baseball’, and other online sources to close that gap. During that time, with the usual overflow of search results, I came across a few things that looked interesting or useful, but peripheral. Here is one of them, a study BY THE SAME COMPANY, CS&L, for San Jose, seeking an MLB franchise.

    http://www.sjredevelopment.org/ballpark/meetings/092409/SanJosePresentation092109.pdf

    Granted not the same situation, not the same length, but a great example of the depth, breadth and CONTEXT that the SAME COMPANY can provide when DIRECTED, or asked the right questions. I will let it speak for itself.

  19. November 5, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    You’re assuming the budget was the same for the Anaheim report; the problem in San Jose is they’d very much like the Oakland A’s to relocate there but the SF Giants hold the rights to that market.

    But CSL did exceptional work on that report; the factors we don’t know about the Anaheim report was how much time was the firm given to complete the report. What was the direction from the city on the report asked for. I think $30K for a report is on the cheap side.

  20. BigBoxOfRedWhine
    November 5, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    Is that all $30K buys? 13 pages, more a pamphlet.
    1 Intro / Angel History
    2 History / Verbal (no #) spending breakdown
    3 Spending Diagram – Verbal
    4 Multiplier Effect
    5 Spending Impact (numerical)
    6 Jobs / Earnings (numerical)
    7 Tax revenues (numerical)
    8-11 Community work pictures
    12 Summary
    13 Blank (almost)
    Even neglecting the (disputed )quality of the numerical work,
    (and how much of the verbal was boilerplate ?)
    “I’m in the wrong Business ! “- Sell 2 of those a year and (learn) golf full time!
    I share your concerns on City direction / time, a key question.

  21. November 5, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Legwork takes hours and sometimes warrants only a line in a report.

  22. Greg Diamond
    November 5, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    If you really read that in only five minutes, then you pretty clearly didn’t pay close attention. How shocking.

  23. Dan Chmielewski
    November 5, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Here’s a shocker Greg. I can read fast. Here’s another one. Your posts are way too long. You go off on tangents. You’re verbose. You need an editor.

Comments are closed.