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Greg S
All-Star Mav

4101 Posts

Posted - 10/06/2007 :  3:03:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
With the new format of the CWS, won't it be about 12 dates? When you think of that, it's more than the time football stadiums are used. Thrown in 400,000 for the O Royals attendance, plus a couple concerts and I think it's worth the cost.

The more I think about the 2% entertainment tax the more I think it works.

This really is about locking up the CWS for 20 years. Think about it, 20 years! Unprecedented.

Greg
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UNOMav
Aiming for #1

British Indian Ocean Territories
964 Posts

Posted - 10/06/2007 :  3:39:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The city doesn't get ticket money from the CWS...that goes to the NCAA. Do you think that the NCAA will give any increase in ticket prices to the city of Omaha? I would be shocked if they would do that. Same goes for seat licenses. Anything that is connected to the CWS would have to be approved by the NCAA...and I don't see them giving up anything for the new stadium.

Still aiming for #1.
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MavRick
A Better Fan Than You

USA
-3935 Posts

Posted - 10/06/2007 :  4:44:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
What WOM said.

Grab it.

Any other response is utter silliness.

Out.



"Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard." Justice Robert Jackson, West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, Supreme Court of the United States (1943)
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admin
U!N!O!

10825 Posts

Posted - 10/06/2007 :  9:38:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by UNOMav

The city doesn't get ticket money from the CWS...that goes to the NCAA. Do you think that the NCAA will give any increase in ticket prices to the city of Omaha? I would be shocked if they would do that. Same goes for seat licenses. Anything that is connected to the CWS would have to be approved by the NCAA...and I don't see them giving up anything for the new stadium.

Still aiming for #1.



That has always been my presumption.

However, that doesn't mean that the city couldn't add priority seating donations on various sections at a stadium.
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MavRick
A Better Fan Than You

USA
-3935 Posts

Posted - 10/07/2007 :  08:05:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I will say Fahey is not doing a good job with electoral relations here. I think he can sell this on its merits if he talks to people, but he seems pretty ivory tower right now.



"Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard." Justice Robert Jackson, West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, Supreme Court of the United States (1943)
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UNOMav
Aiming for #1

British Indian Ocean Territories
964 Posts

Posted - 10/07/2007 :  09:10:39 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Seat licenses are more likely, but I would think that any cost related to the CWS would have to be approved by the NCAA. Keep in mind that those licenses fees could boot out season ticketholders that have had their tickets for decades in favor of big money donors. The 2% entertainment tax isn't a huge deal. No matter who gets taxed they will complain.



Still aiming for #1.
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admin
U!N!O!

10825 Posts

Posted - 10/07/2007 :  11:16:04 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MavRick

I will say Fahey is not doing a good job with electoral relations here. I think he can sell this on its merits if he talks to people, but he seems pretty ivory tower right now.



I think that is the biggest issue I have with the mayor's office right now.

Every time they hold a news conference, they essentially raise more questions.

It doesn't help matters now that you basically have every city council member (except Frank Brown) looking "cautious" when it comes to the deal. You have Jim Suttle suggesting that an outside analyst needs to be brought in to analyze the situation.

quote:
Originally posted by UNOMav

Seat licenses are more likely, but I would think that any cost related to the CWS would have to be approved by the NCAA. Keep in mind that those licenses fees could boot out season ticketholders that have had their tickets for decades in favor of big money donors. The 2% entertainment tax isn't a huge deal. No matter who gets taxed they will complain.


The Qwest Center Omaha has seat licenses on 1600 chairs in the lower bowl.

That means that when the NCAA Volleyball Final Four came to Omaha, those people had "first right of refusal" on their seats for that event. Same thing with the NCAA Basketball tourney upcoming.

Since the CWS is going to be moving into a new facility, I see no reason why priority fees can't be introduced.

This $117 million (or whatever the actually total amount ends up being) won't be the only expenditures on this event for the next 20 years.

They are building this facility in the same way that they built the QCO. When they say they can add 5,000 fixed seats at a later date, what they are essentially saying is, "we'll come back in a few years and spend $20 million additional dollars to do that."

The CWS is a popular ticket. I see no reason why seating fees shouldn't be used for an event like this to help defray some of the costs.

The larger problem is that there isn't a tenant for the new stadium that is terribly "attractive" during the rest of the spring and summer months. So a "seat license" might not be as appealing.

However, tickets have remained a relative "bargain" at the CWS.

Putting a fee of $500 per seat on the 1500 "choice seats" at a new stadium makes sense.

Hell...UNO had a required $250 per seat donation on the first two tiers when they were at the aging Civic Auditiorum.

1500 seats x $500 per seat license = $750,000 per year

And as you sold those seats, you could expand the donation program for the CWS.

There are plenty of businesses that'd be willing to spend that sort of money to purchase a pair of seats to the CWS. Furthermore, there are individual fans who enjoy the 10-day event enough that they'd be willing to plunk that sort of money down.

Since they estimate that this entertainment tax will provide around $3 million in revenue per year, they have to find other sources of income.

Rather than coming back and raising the tax by a 1/2 percent in a few years, they need to find ways to maximize their revenue potential.

And as far as getting approval from the NCAA for seat licenses, I don't think you'd have any problem with that.

The NCAA is all about making money. That's why they wanted a "clean zone" around Rosenblatt -- they wanted to squash any outside vendors. They are amenable to a new stadium because they want to see a state-of-the-art press box and luxury suites.

But the city and the taxpayers -- who are footing the bill for this stadium -- should have some say in the way things are handled.

I have read that the NCAA pays "rent" which is set by CWS Inc.

What CWS Inc. says to the NCAA is this -- you sell the tickets, but we will be selling "year round" seat licenses on 1500 to 2000 of the "best" seats in the place, and those folks get first right of refusal on the seats.

That wouldn't be a problem at all and could basically get them a cool $1 million in revenue per year.

And out of 30,000 seats, should we really balk at 1500-2000 of them having a license tied to them?

I don't think so.

The "arms race" will never end. No politician wants to be the guy that'll lose the series.

Frankly, I doubt we would have lost it for a while and I imagine that we would've secured another 5-year deal. But Fahey won't be the last mayor willing to go the extra mile to placate the NCAA.

That's why we need to find additional ways to sponge revenue from the event.

Today it is an entertainment tax, but next time it could be an increase in a different tax.

I know it might only be a few cents on a dollar, but the $3 million the city collects annually will be $3 million that people aren't spending on other things. Over time, that'll have an effect on someone(s).
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UNOMav
Aiming for #1

British Indian Ocean Territories
964 Posts

Posted - 10/08/2007 :  1:28:53 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Jon...the Qwest wasn't built for the volleyball tourney. The new stadium is built ONLY FOR the CWS. If the CWS wasn't here a new stadium wouldn't even be a thought. I am not saying that seat licenses aren't possible, but I think they will be much more controlled by the NCAA than they are with the Qwest. The NCAA was begging people to buy tickets to championships like the volleyball tourney. That isn't the case for the CWS.

I don't recall but did the seat licenses holders in the Qwest get first chance at the mens tourney bb games? I thought it was Creighton season ticket holders wasn't it? Maybe that was a decision of Creighton.

Also the seat licenses for the Qwest are very valuable with all the potential events. Not so in the baseball stadium. No one is dying to pay for the rights to buy Royals season tickets or Creighton baseball tickets. Other than the CWS what events are going to be happening in the stadium?

And if we create the PSL's then you make people that have had the tickets for decades to cough up a bunch of money to keep them, plus the price of the actual tickets.

I am somewhat surprised of all the outrage about a 2% tax for the stadium. Regardless if a new one is built or they do major renovations to Rosenblatt where the money coming to pay for it? The proposed tax isn't totally unrealistic.

Still aiming for #1.
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MavRick
A Better Fan Than You

USA
-3935 Posts

Posted - 10/08/2007 :  1:35:06 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I don't like it when my taxes get raised for no good reason. This seems like a good reason to me. Maybe, MAYBE I spend $2,000 dining out ($166/mo) per year. That gives me a marginal cost of $40. BFD.



"Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard." Justice Robert Jackson, West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, Supreme Court of the United States (1943)
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Bigredmed
Senior Mav

1574 Posts

Posted - 10/08/2007 :  5:12:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MavRick

I don't like it when my taxes get raised for no good reason. This seems like a good reason to me. Maybe, MAYBE I spend $2,000 dining out ($166/mo) per year. That gives me a marginal cost of $40. BFD.



There are family owned restaurants and bars that are barely able to hang on now. These local places are where the new ideas in food and entertainment come from. They are the places that make Omaha different from any other city in the US. Add 2% to every tab so that 10,000 people out of 800,000 people can watch baseball for 2 weeks a year, and we will make it incrementally harder for new ideas to get to market in a restaurant market that is already the most competitive restaurant market in the US.

Seems like the many are being asked to indulge the whims of the few here. This isn't going to be like the Qwest, its going to be worse. The arena is making money hand over fist, yet the convention center is not used nearly as much as we were promised, thus the Qwest never makes any net income. This thing is going to sit empty 6 months a year. For two months, it will have trivial attendance for the Royals. For 2 weeks, it will be SRO, and for the rest of the summer, it will be a giant yawn fest till it shuts down for the rest of the year. This thing will eat us out of house and home in terms of maintenance and operating costs. And just like the Qwest, the money that the CWS generates won't come close to the cost of running the thing for the year. This factors nothing in for the parking issues that have not been mentioned yet.

When Omaha can provide library services and MAT buses to all the parts of the city (even those evil people living west of 120th), when OPS/Millard/Westside can educate the children at an affordable cost, and we can deal with the city's unfunded pension obligations and infrastructure costs without constantly worrying about the bond rating, then we can talk about indulging a few thousand people's choice of entertainment.
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MavRick
A Better Fan Than You

USA
-3935 Posts

Posted - 10/08/2007 :  6:17:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bigredmed

Add 2% to every tab so that 10,000 people out of 800,000 people can watch baseball for 2 weeks a year, and we will make it incrementally harder for new ideas to get to market in a restaurant market that is already the most competitive restaurant market in the US.


Disregarding the obviously wrong numerical premise for the moment, you're absolutely right that the restaurant market here is extremely competetive. This is because we have more restaurants per capita than any city in the U.S., according to Yahoo! travel.

It's absolutely true that taxing certain activities drives demand for them down. But dining out is fairly inelastic in demand, so I don't see a 2% increase in price driving demand down 2%. I don't think we should be cavalier about these things, but at the same time I just don't see restaurant calamity on the horizon here.

quote:
When Omaha can provide library services and MAT buses to all the parts of the city (even those evil people living west of 120th), when OPS/Millard/Westside can educate the children at an affordable cost, and we can deal with the city's unfunded pension obligations and infrastructure costs without constantly worrying about the bond rating, then we can talk about indulging a few thousand people's choice of entertainment.


Yes, well, see, if a billion dollars comes into the Omaha economy in return for the expenditure of $120 million (to say nothing of the increase in tax base around north downtown, the jobs generated by construction, etc), then we get closer to these things. This is an opportunity to multiply the dollars in our economy - to make it grow, so that these things are more affordable over a deeper and broader tax base.

The things you complain about, while overstated here and there (including the eye-rolling, hackermav-esque hypersensitive response to my views of post-war development), are legitimate subjects of debate. But your argument treats investment in the ballpark as though it is the equivalent of putting Wizard charcoal lighter on $120 million bucks, which is simply false. If I could borrow 120 million over 20 years to grow the economy by a billion over the same period, I don't care how few people it entertains. The fact that this particular investment will pay dividends in continuing to raise Omaha's profile on the national scene, entertain many tens of thousands of people, and continue the momentum on the Riverfront (which only the foolish would deride), is all gravy. The economic return on this investment alone ends any reasoned debate.




"Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard." Justice Robert Jackson, West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, Supreme Court of the United States (1943)
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MavBridget
The Girl Wonder

France
6424 Posts

Posted - 10/08/2007 :  9:01:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This thread makes my head hurt.

I guess what I'm getting at here is, I haven't seen Mayor Fahey address the issue of how those that primarily benefit from the CWS are going to contribute to this new stadium.

To me, that's an investment (even a token one) from the hotels, rental car companies, and even the Old Market restaurants. 93% of that $1 billion dollars isn't tax revenue ... it's revenue for service and good providers. They're the ones that will benefit ... and I haven't heard from any of them.

Are any of you following this story in Schuyler, NE about how the immigrant community and local merchants are pledging financial support for the school district because they're the ones that primarily benefit? The same idea would go a long way for me with the move to NoDo.
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admin
U!N!O!

10825 Posts

Posted - 10/08/2007 :  9:37:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The 2% tax is estimated to bring in $3 million per year.

The fact is -- in addition to the tax and private donations -- the city is going to have to find other funding sources for the facility.

While a new stadium itself might cost $117 million, the infrastructure around it will cost millions more -- sewers in and out; street reconfiguration to accomodate traffic flow; new parking garages and lots; etc.

The event itself isn't going to generate an "increase" in revenue over what it generated at Rosenblatt. It's not like we are doubling capacity at the facility and are going to see an increase in parking/concessions as a result.

Essentially, we are outlaying $117 million (plus other expenses) to keep things "as they are."

I think it is safe to say that a new stadium alone won't secure a 20-year deal. A deal like that will mean that Omaha has to guarantee more revenue and agree to outlay more capital over the course of those two decades.

That'll mean incremental improvements (such as increasing fixed-seat capacity) to the facility over time. That'll mean ballot issues approving new spending.

We talk a lot about the revenue that the Qwest Center is generating -- through anchor tenants like UNO and Creighton...to big-name sports events and concerts held at the facility. Despite all of those bookings (and a property tax increase in 2001), we are still years away from paying the facility off.

I realize as a city you have to invest in your overall health and take on massive expenditures that are necessary.

I don't necessarily have a problem paying 9% sales tax on food and entertainment. But it is foolish to think that $3 million/year is going to be enough to pay down the debt on the facility.

And while we might be improving one slum (North Omaha) we'll essentially be creating another one in the area where Rosenblatt currently stands. The zoo is very nice, but the zoo doesn't fuel Zesto's or any number of bars in the area.

At some point, we have to try and find ways to make money at the CWS itself. That's why we need to consider things like seat licenses (which they have at the Qwest Center) that give people who pay a minimum of $750 per seat (at the QCO) first right of refusal on their "chair" for all events at the facility. And we need to find other ways to appeal to the "smaller" corporate donors who'll fund the facility.

Trust me, they are already thinking about that. You all aren't so naive as to believe the "private donation" money will come without a price. People are going to be pushed out of their seats as it is. There'll be a much more "corporate" crowd at the CWS as a result of the expenditures the city needs to make.

Personally, I don't think we are in any danger of losing the event as it stands now.

Obviously, Mayor Fahey and CWS Inc. want to guarantee the event will never leave Omaha. I'm not sure that is something they can truly get in writing. The NCAA loses all leverage if they are unable to dangle that threat over our collective heads.

A couple of years ago, a group of downtown business owners suggested that they ought to be paying more to help aid in the riverfront development. As a whole, the concept went over like a lead balloon, but it is a valid thought.

As I said in an earlier post, the city is going to be paying millions of dollars (collectively) to bring a massive influx of customers into downtown. A number of businesses (both locally owned and nationally owned) will benefit from that.

It would be nice if those businesses would be willing to pony up extra since they stand to make a considerable amount of profit from the event. I understand the "trickle down" effects of economic impact, but it'd be nice if those that stand to directly benefit would help to take the burden off of Omaha's tax base.

And furthermore, the mayor's office needs to sell this concept in a better manner. Right now, this whole thing has the appearance of an administration that'll employ "creative bookkeeping" to avoid a debate with voters.

It is quite possible that debate -- in this instance -- would be a good thing. This is a big decision about a big event that Omaha hosts every summer. I think it is only prudent that varying opinion from voters be tactfully considered.

Up until this point, we have basically given the city a "blank check" to do what needs to be done to keep the event.

Do any of you truly believe that Indianapolis voters and politicians would do the same thing?

Of course not, they already have big events like the NFL, NBA, NCAA Final Four, Brickyard 400, Indianapolis 500, etc.

I am sure they'd consider adding the CWS to that mix, but they wouldn't have the impending sense of "fear" that we do when it comes to the possibility of losing the event. As such, they'd probably actually be able to "negotiate" with the NCAA.

Regardless, the CWS is a good event for Omaha. But prudence needs to go hand-in-hand with emotion (on both sides of the debate).
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hackermav
Minister of Antagonism

1039 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2007 :  08:47:57 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
The things you complain about, while overstated here and there (including the eye-rolling, hackermav-esque hypersensitive response to my views of post-war development), are legitimate subjects of debate. But your argument treats investment in the ballpark as though it is the equivalent of putting Wizard charcoal lighter on $120 million bucks, which is simply false. If I could borrow 120 million over 20 years to grow the economy by a billion over the same period, I don't care how few people it entertains. The fact that this particular investment will pay dividends in continuing to raise Omaha's profile on the national scene, entertain many tens of thousands of people, and continue the momentum on the Riverfront (which only the foolish would deride), is all gravy. The economic return on this investment alone ends any reasoned debate.


Hey now. It's not hypersensitive when someone tells me I don't have the same rights as they do because of where I choose to live.

But saying that, I cannot argue with $120 million = $1 billion.
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Bigredmed
Senior Mav

1574 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2007 :  09:20:22 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by hackermav

quote:
The things you complain about, while overstated here and there (including the eye-rolling, hackermav-esque hypersensitive response to my views of post-war development), are legitimate subjects of debate. But your argument treats investment in the ballpark as though it is the equivalent of putting Wizard charcoal lighter on $120 million bucks, which is simply false. If I could borrow 120 million over 20 years to grow the economy by a billion over the same period, I don't care how few people it entertains. The fact that this particular investment will pay dividends in continuing to raise Omaha's profile on the national scene, entertain many tens of thousands of people, and continue the momentum on the Riverfront (which only the foolish would deride), is all gravy. The economic return on this investment alone ends any reasoned debate.


Hey now. It's not hypersensitive when someone tells me I don't have the same rights as they do because of where I choose to live.

But saying that, I cannot argue with $120 million = $1 billion.



I can. The billion is a estimate given from people who want to inflate the benefit and minimize the cost. The stadium was going to cost $30M, now its $120M, and as Admin said, we haven't talked about sewers, roads, or parking yet. Where the $1B in revenue estimate comes from is a question. Where the $1B in revenue goes to is another. Don't want to belabor this point, but the financials of this plan are not very clear. And from the perspective of someone who won't benefit from this at all, I am not sure that I want to be taxed for it.

Think of it this way. The Ranch Bowl was the site for music performances that were too big for the Sokol Underground, but too small for the civic. Now that its gone, and the music scene continues to be in demand, and the local acts are continuing to bring in money to the city, we need to replace that space. How about the funding alternatives:

1. We tax concert tickets to pay for the new space.
2. We tax all the sports tickets in this town to pay for the music space.

Which seems more fair? Asking the people who are going to use the space and profit from it to pay for it is better than taxing people who may never drive by it, much less derive any benefit from it (IMHO).

Oh and by the way, these Ad Hominem attacks are dull and boorish.
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Bigredmed
Senior Mav

1574 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2007 :  10:46:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by admin

BRM: The citizens collectively benefit from having the CWS.



I am not sure that is really true, but I am not going to argue about this anymore. I agree that the financials of this project are far from complete. I believe that the benefits have been magnified and the costs have been minimized by the mayor's office.

Frankly, I am tired of the CWS blackmailing us every few years.
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MavRick
A Better Fan Than You

USA
-3935 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2007 :  11:07:30 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bigredmed

I can. The billion is a estimate given from people who want to inflate the benefit and minimize the cost.


Well, not really. Ernie Goss said several years ago, before any of this was raised that the series puts $30 or $40 million into the coffers. Let's say it's much closer to $40 million now and will grow well past $50 million over the 20 year span. $1B is not a reach by any stretch.

As for the cost of the stadium, I don't disagree that the numbers are vague at this point, though I don't think Jon's black-helicopter hypothesis that infrastructure costs are being left out is correct:

quote:

From The Omaha World Herald:

Breakdown of stadium costs (in millions)

Construction............$47.6 to $52.6

Parking............$6

Infrastructure and site preparation...........$6.9

Outdoor concourse.............$5

Raised walkway to riverfront...........$4

Furnishings, equipment, start-up costs............$4.6

Design, inflation, project management.............$21 to $37.4*

Total.............$95.1 to $116.5



quote:

Where the $1B in revenue estimate comes from is a question. Where the $1B in revenue goes to is another.



Not much of one, given the Goss study. The morally troubling thing with your argument is that the $1B in revenue goes to hospitality and transportation and lots of $8/hr jobs. Are you opposed tho this?

quote:
And from the perspective of someone who won't benefit from this at all, I am not sure that I want to be taxed for it.


This is both false and morally deficient. The childless don't "benefit from schools at all," except that a civilized society does better when its children are educated. Presumably the people you serve in your practice live here and represent a source of revenue to you. Their well-being is yours. You may not care for baseball or whatever, and that's fine. But to say all the money flowing into the city doesn't benefit you (when, if anything, it probably keeps your all-important tax burden lower than it would otherwise be), is simply wrong. And saying "I shouldn't pay for Elmwood Park because I live in the burbs" (a clear equivalent of your argument) cannot withstand reduction to the absurd.

quote:
Oh and by the way, these Ad Hominem attacks are dull and boorish.


I'm sorry you feel attacked ad hominem, though I'm not sure what exactly you're referring to. I certainly don't mean to imply (and certainly haven't said) that you're a bad person for holding these views. But these questions get at the heart of what it means to live in a political collective to me, and to say, "I don't use X (where X is a ballpark, a park in your neighborhood, the street past your house, the firehouse in the suburbs) and therefore I shouldn't have to pay for it, no matter how much it benefits the city as a whole" is an unsustainable view.



"Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard." Justice Robert Jackson, West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, Supreme Court of the United States (1943)
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Mojo325is
McQueen...

Brazil
1654 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2007 :  11:18:18 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I'm thinking the same thing Rick is, only he's just a wee bit more eloquent than I am...

And for those of you who don't know a lot about Prof. Goss, I encourage you to use 'teh google' and read some of the papers he's penned, absolutely brilliant. I spent about an hour on the phone with him last fall just before the VB Final Four and the Qwest Center and he's amazing.

The other side of the coin (which Goss will be quick to point out) is that a lot of the money spent during events like the CWS, VB FF and such, is local money that maybe wouldn't have been spent in Omaha, those folks would have ear-marked it for a trip to KC, Chicago or somwhere else. Instead, they're deciding to stay in town and spend it here at OUR restaurants, bars, parking lots and the like.


------------


Trying to elude the Mickey Mouse Brigade
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admin
U!N!O!

10825 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2007 :  12:29:35 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
BRM: The citizens collectively benefit from having the CWS.

But it isn't a cheap event for the city to put on every year. There is more to this event than simply construction costs and facility renovations.

That's why -- in my mind -- we are going to need to find more serious sources of funding for the CWS.

The city spends millions of dollars per year in operating costs for this event. We can only guess what those costs might include.

Back in 2000 and 2001, Bridget staffed the Civic Auditorium with volunteers as a way for the Blue Line Club and the Athletic Department to make money off of the event.

She staffed 53 positions per night -- that did not include paramedics, police or concessionaires. The event staff (who are unionized) earned $10 per hour 7 years ago.

The Stampede is obviously a much simpler and smaller operation than the CWS.

But it stands to reason that the staffing costs at the CWS are massive each year. I am sure that the employee's union negotiates a higher wage for the CWS considering the size of the crowds they are dealing with and the hot conditions that employees have to work in.

So facility costs are only one piece of the puzzle. Personnel costs and various other annual expenses must be taken into account when considering any event the city operates. And with MECA running the show, we can only imagine what those costs might involve.

There is a reason we put on a "first-class" event -- we spend a lot of money to make the event run like a well-oiled machine.

To say that "$120 million = $1 billion" is false. There is more to this event than merely construction and upgrade costs.

It is also true (contrary to popular belief) that there will be infrastructure costs that aren't included in the numbers put forth by the Fahey administration. At this point, folks can only speculate what sort of traffic issues having the event in that particular area might cause. No one knows for certain if the streets -- as they currently are -- will be able to accomodate the event without widening and rerouting certain arteries over the course of the next 20 years.

Furthermore, the city will likely have to build more parking to accommodate the event. You aren't going to have residential entrepreneurs and neighborhoods to park automobiles -- and a number of the garages currently in use accomodate downtown workers during the week. The figures brought forth only include the venue itself -- not the other ancillary updates that'll have to be made to downtown.

And the city is likely to want to build a new "transit" system for the event of some sort. Whether or not that is something as involved as actual trolleys, or if it is merely "trolley buses," is yet to be seen.

I think the CWS is a great event, but don't delude yourself on the cost/benefit ratio. That "greatness" doesn't come without a price.

I am sure that the "salesmen" will tell people that $120 million is a small price to pay for $1 billion in economic impact. But construction of the facility is only part of the story.

A considerable portion of the city's budget annually goes towards paying CWS expenses like staffing fees, consulting fees, salaries, etc.

The fact remains that we are outlaying a huge amount of capital (more than we ever have before) for a facility that has the same capacity as the existing venue.

Bringing a congruent amount of individuals won't help when it comes to increasing revenue unless the city starts adding new fees onto those individuals in some way, shape or form. Hence my notion of seat licenses. Furthermore, this facility isn't likely to generate much in the way of ticket revenue, concessions and other rental fees during the rest of the year.

You all realize that I am playing devil's advocate in my commentary, but we need to look at this issue from all angles.

The event is worth it, but we need to be fiscally responsible. If we can find revenue streams that'll avoid having taxpayers pay for this facility for the next 40 years, then we should do that.
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hackermav
Minister of Antagonism

1039 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2007 :  12:41:27 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
To say that "$120 million = $1 billion" is false. There is more to this event than merely construction and upgrade costs.


Incorrect. I was not commenting on the day to day or year to year running of the facilty only on the 20 year revenue impact of spenidng $120 million now.

And by the way I read everything, all of the revenue generated from parking and everything else would be after cost, so it is profit. These are all new expenses that the city doesn't have now.

With current standards of spending to keep the NCAA, we would probably have to spend $100 million in upgrades Rosenblatt if we decided to fix that darn place up.

I would rather spend the money now, know we are set for a number of years, and lock in new revenue streams (ie parking), than be at the mercy of the NCAA every 5 years.

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Bigredmed
Senior Mav

1574 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2007 :  12:46:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
MavRick, referring to me as "morally deficient" is an Ad Hominem attack.

The childless do benefit from schools. They have better property value and are more easily able to live in neighborhoods where all kinds of people live.

Refer back to my example of the concert hall. Better to make sure that the hall can pay for itself by generating enough revenue to cover construction and operations, than stick people who are not going to benefit from it with the tab. You would not want to see your Mavs tickets go up by 10% to pay for a concert venue that you weren't going to be using, would you?

Basically, I look at the cost of living in the city, and look at the working people making 30K a year and ask, is it better to splurge on a stadium for a 2 week long event, or is it better to help these people live a quality of life that keeps them here. Having lived in cities where finding good cops, secretaries, and tradesmen was difficult, and now living where these folks can work their jobs and have a good quality of life, I don't want to see Omaha trash that so that Fahey can have a monument to his administration. Perhaps we should consider the moral deficiency of the stadium proponents?
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admin
U!N!O!

10825 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2007 :  12:57:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by hackermav

I would rather spend the money now, know we are set for a number of years, and lock in new revenue streams (ie parking), than be at the mercy of the NCAA every 5 years.



The NCAA is going to find a way to put our collective head over a barrel regardless of whether or not we build a new stadium.

I understand the positives of making an investment in this great event.

But let's not delude ourselves into thinking we'll somehow win the upperhand against the NCAA and avoid them milking the city to make further changes and meet further fiscal demands during that 20-year period.

Also...

It appears that the mayor and MECA are on a collision course over the location of the new arena.

Fahey has tried to delay a public hearing that MECA is holding (to take place this Thursday morning) and he apparently won't make an appearance.

http://www.omaha.com/index.php?u_page=2798&u_sid=10152924

quote:
Mayor Mike Fahey and the board that controls the Qwest Center Omaha appear to be on a collision course over the prospect of building a new baseball stadium north of the convention center.

The conflict could come to a head Thursday when the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority holds a public discussion on the mayor's stadium plan. Fahey asked for a delay of the meeting and said he would not participate Thursday.

The mayor's preferred site for the stadium, which could cost up to $117 million, is on the arena's Parking Lot D. The site offers many of the amenities the NCAA has told the city it is looking for in a new long-term home for the College World Series. Fans also would have views of the Omaha skyline and the riverfront from the site.

But MECA officials have wondered whether use of the lot for a stadium would block any future expansion of the convention center. They also worry about a potential loss of parking or pushing parking farther from the facility.

MECA has not announced any plans to add on to the convention center and arena.

The City Law Department has concluded that the city can develop the parking lot areas without MECA's approval. However, MECA's legal advisers disagree with that interpretation.


quote:
Both sides say they are seeking cooperation and want to avoid the kind of spat that might convince the NCAA that Omaha is no longer the best location for the CWS.

"We are not saying 'no' to anything right now," said Hal Daub, a member of MECA and Omaha's former mayor. "We are trying to get our questions answered."

Daub said MECA might suggest the creation of an independent committee to make recommendations on the best site for a stadium and a plan to finance it. A similar group he established in the late 1990s made the recommendations that ultimately resulted in Omaha's convention center and arena complex being put under MECA's control.

Landow said such a committee is unnecessary at this point.


Is it just me, or is the continual insistence on trying to avoid "conflict" over the future of this event merely causing more problems?
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MavRick
A Better Fan Than You

USA
-3935 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2007 :  1:10:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Bigredmed

MavRick, referring to me as "morally deficient" is an Ad Hominem attack.


I apologize. I wanted it to be clear from the context that I thought your argument was morally deficient. If I thought you were morally deficient, I wouldn't bother discussing it with you. I'm asking you to evaluate the moral consequences of the positions you're staking out, because I'm not comfortable with them, but I absolutely apologize for the implication that you're a bad person for the views you take. Rather, I'm hoping that we can agree on some values and then work out which public policy best reflects those values. So I'm glad to hear you say....

quote:

The childless do benefit from schools. They have better property value and are more easily able to live in neighborhoods where all kinds of people live.


From this, I believe we actually agree that direct benefit is not the standard by which taxes should be levied - just because I don't use it directly, I don't have to pay for it. Hang on to this thought, because I'm going to jump back to it in a couple of paragraphs.

quote:
Refer back to my example of the concert hall. Better to make sure that the hall can pay for itself by generating enough revenue to cover construction and operations, than stick people who are not going to benefit from it with the tab. You would not want to see your Mavs tickets go up by 10% to pay for a concert venue that you weren't going to be using, would you?


I am afraid this example doesn't get you where you're going, for several reasons:

1) For one thing, I am not married to the "entertainment" tax as opposed to some other fiscal measure for raising the money. If a better alternative presents itself, I can be persuaded.

2) 10% isn't in play here; 2% of items that are more or less nonessential goods and services is.

3) I fundamentally disagree with you on "what I'm going to be using." We agreed above that direct benefit isn't the standard - that some things help make my city and my life better, and I should help pay for them, even if I don't use them. Property values are higher in a town where people want to live, where there are a broad range of entertainment options, and where people generally have a positive attitude about living there.

4) Almost nowhere in a city should the decision to build or not be based on whether it "pays for itself." Streets don't pay for themselves. Parks don't pay for themselves. Sewers don't pay for themselves. Policemen don't pay for themselves. But the consequences of not having these things are clear and have economic components. We know what the series will bring into the city - not necessarily into city government, but into the hands of local people and local businesses. We have a general idea about what it will cost. Even if the stadium costs twice what it is projected to, it will still be a money-winner for Omaha.

So if you asked me to pay a 2% venue tax to build an opera house, even though I can't stand the opera, but you could tell me that we'd see an eightfold (or even a fourfold) return on our money over time, I think I'd be OK with it.

quote:
Basically, I look at the cost of living in the city, and look at the working people making 30K a year and ask, is it better to splurge on a stadium for a 2 week long event, or is it better to help these people live a quality of life that keeps them here.


I see these as false alternatives. One of the reasons Omaha is beginning to rate well on quality of life is that it has a wide variety of events. Plus, and you seem curiously steadfast in your refusal to acknowledge this -- the CWS employs, directly and mostly indirectly, a lot of people who make around 30K a year.

quote:
I don't want to see Omaha trash that so that Fahey can have a monument to his administration. Perhaps we should consider the moral deficiency of the stadium proponents?


Well, I sense that I've been here longer than you have. I've seen the city with nothing to do, with nothing to show for itself, no approach to getting events like these, and I have to tell you, it's a lot worse economically. Finally, I really can't see the scenario that Omaha becomes "trash[ed]" as a result of building a brand new stadium in an emerging part of the city. (Even your disaster scenario, a few posts back, is that we'd lose some restaurants at the margin -- not that the city would be "trash[ed].")

I'll also tell you that I haven't been to a College World Series game in seven or eight years.

I like the mayor, although I think he's not doing well from a PR standpoint here. But I am convinced the city is far better off with the Series locked up than not. The economics are simply irrefutable.



"Compulsory unification of opinion achieves only the unanimity of the graveyard." Justice Robert Jackson, West Virginia Board of Education v. Barnette, Supreme Court of the United States (1943)
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admin
U!N!O!

10825 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2007 :  1:26:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think we can all agree on one thing (at least, I think we can ):

The Fahey Administration has done a fairly abyssmal job of handling the public relations regarding a new stadium so far.

He seems evasive in this instance -- probably because they really don't have all of the facts in place.

quote:
MECA's board, which does not object to a new stadium at a different location, sent the mayor a list of questions about the stadium in mid-September and invited Fahey to respond to them at Thursday's meeting.

Last week, the Mayor's Office asked for a 30- to 60-day delay. The questions cannot be answered until a more final decision is made on whether to build on Lot D and when detailed design and cost estimates are available, said Paul Landow, Fahey's chief of staff. The mayor has said that at least two other downtown sites were also under consideration.


Instead of coming out and making generalized statements, they should have simply waited until a more specific plan was devised. Basically, they have been shooting from the hip with generalities that are causing more confusion -- and subsequently more debate -- in the public.

I know a lot of people disliked Mayor Daub, but at least his administration had their ducks in a row when it came to the convention center/arena vote. Amazingly, they were able to squash controversy by outlining detailed plans and appearing forthcoming. The BuildItOmaha committee (funded by several business leaders in the community) were able to promote the idea of a $280 million facility quite well.

What is the #1 rule I say about public relations efforts in general?

In the absence of "information" there is "speculation."

And when the information you supply only fuels more speculation, that isn't good.
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West O Mike
All-Star Mav

Christmas Island
5308 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2007 :  3:03:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That's because there have been MANY discussions over the years about a new arena/convention center. Remember the plan to remodel Ak-Sar-Ben by building a new shell around the old Coliseum, then demolishing the roof? And the original plan for the new arena was to put it west of the Old Market. Hal insisted it be moved.

That being said, this thing is being developed on the fly based on the requests from the NCAA. 6 months ago, they were still planning to remodel Rosenblatt. Fahey tried to up the ante by asking what Omaha needed to do to appease the NCAA long term, and found out the hard truth. And they've been scrambling ever since.

Blog: http://huskermike.blogspot.com
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MavBridget
The Girl Wonder

France
6424 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2007 :  3:13:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I agree with you, Mike, but the interesting thing is that the NCAA has said that THEY did not initiate the discussion about a new arena ... Fahey did. So you'd think if he was going to propose a concept to them, he'd at least have done more homework on it.

Perhaps he did, and he's just not telling us everything he knows.

All I know is, if you put it to a vote of the people today (based on what's been released publicly), it would get voted down 99-1. And that's not because 99% of the people think that Omaha wouldn't benefit from it, or doesn't "need" it to keep the CWS ... it's because Fahey and his people have done a pi$$-p00r job of communicating the benefits and the specific plan.

I think we all agree that the CWS is a neat event, and it costs money to put on, but brings in money to the city as well as building intangible "goodwill" for Omaha around the nation.

That's NOT why Fahey is having a hard time selling it.
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admin
U!N!O!

10825 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2007 :  4:24:08 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Caught off guard?

The last five years, all we've heard about is how we're in imminent danger of losing this event. Everyone has known that they wanted to build a stadium north of downtown near the Qwest Center Omaha. We've been talking about that possibility for at least 24 months -- when the Royals first proposed the idea.

A potential site should have been hammered out long before now.

The mayor's office (and CWS Inc.) should have done their homework and realized that the 99-year lease with MECA states that they must have 4,000 parking slots available at any given time (putting a stadium in Lot D will drop it to around 2500).

This isn't a case of the NCAA blind-siding our leaders. I think this is more likely a case of our leaders blind-siding themselves.
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West O Mike
All-Star Mav

Christmas Island
5308 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2007 :  5:00:58 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think what they got blindsided with was the NCAA's demands and the costs to solve those problems at Rosenblatt. The new stadium idea was a wacky idea promoted by the Royals that was going nowhere until May.

Blog: http://huskermike.blogspot.com
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hackermav
Minister of Antagonism

1039 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2007 :  5:05:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Down with MECA!
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MavBridget
The Girl Wonder

France
6424 Posts

Posted - 10/09/2007 :  6:33:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
It's the NCAA's demands for things like a "clean zone" and the elimination of Dingerville.

Plus, from what I've been reading on other boards, there's some "racial" issues -- with people "concerned" about parking in the neighborhoods around Rosenblatt in the last few years (things like drug dealing and public urination were mentioned ... and I'm guessing they were alluding to the homeowners, not the event attendees. ).

As the NCAA works to "sanitize" this event, the city is more than willing to help them create a totally protected zone (that's why they want to build on Lot D, plus they'd be able to hold corporate events in the convention center, thus creating more revenue for it).

FINALLY... some hard data. I found the 2003 Ernie Goss economic impact study of the CWS:
http://tinyurl.com/2c9dtw

Key findings (from 2003):
The total economic impact was $33.8 million (but 11.8 million of that was "spillover" -- i.e., vendors reinvesting the money they were paid through purchases).
The direct tax impact was $2.4 million in state and local taxes (again, though, no mention of the *costs* associated with the event, i.e., extra police and fire protection for 10 days)
17.5% of CWS season ticket holders reside outside of Nebraska; they estimate the CWS in 2003 brought 126,144 non-Nebraskans to the state.
(As an aside, the worst thing that will happen in the next 20 years is that Nebraska or Creighton makes the series; without those out-of-towners, the economic impact is lessened by approximately 10-15%)
The economic impact wasn't just the CWS, but also was measured by the USSSA baseball championships, which are held at the same time as the CWS for 3 days, drawing several hundred participants.
Interestingly, the CWS is 13th on the list of top events/attractions in terms of out-of-state visitors (and, consequently, "economic impact"). The Zoo's summer attendance is 680,305, with 46% of people drawn from outside Nebraska. In comparison, the CWS drew 260,091 out of staters, with 48.5% of them from outside of Nebraska. Lake McConaughey (spelling?) in Ogallala is actually the largest in terms of out-of-state people generated.

It's an interesting report.
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