Sunday, June 13, 2010

Questionable "Economic Impact"

Apparently, at least one economist believes that Baylor competing in the Big 12 (as opposed to another conference) is worth about $714 million and 5,700 jobs ANNUALLY!!! They claim it's because of the Texas rivalries. Has anyone ever watched Baylor football? That's like saying the University of Maryland and my Division III alma mater St. Mary's College of Maryland are heated rivals. And we didn't even have a football team.

Come on.

Baylor played Texas at home last season. Not Oklahoma. Not Nebraska. I'm going to find it extremely hard to believe that Texas managed to provide almost the entire $714 million out of this rivalry from hotel stays, etc. (to be fair, he says Waco would see about $197 million of this dropoff). I'm not sure that Texas Tech or Texas A&M are significant enough to even bother with. Sure, you won't have those Texas fans coming to town every other year (who are apparently exorbidantly rich). But guess what...Baylor will play football against someone else!

Certainly, the evaporation of the Big 12 will hurt Baylor The Athletic Department. But even if they no longer get to play Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska, they'll be playing someone else. That means people will be staying in hotels, eating food, etc. Maybe there won't be as many...but you're not talking about $200 million! That's the kind of estimate left for having the government build a brand new stadium to keep a team in town. We're talking about Baylor here, not the Yankees.

I don't really understand why they were in the Big 12 to begin with, though. What have they got to offer the Big 12 television contract? Women's basketball? Their men's basketball team did pretty well this year. But $714 million?

Let's take Baylor and Perryman's obvious bias (a Baylor grad and former professor there) out of this one. Let's say Texas A&M goes to the SEC and the other bunch (Texas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State) go to the Pac-10. The latter 4 will still play each other. They'll still have those rivalries with one another. IF ANYTHING they'll be making new rivalries with bigger schools with fans who have deeper pockets in California. In addition, those fans come from out of state. Therefore, when they travel with the team, they end up spending money in Texas that wouldn't have otherwise been there, rather than Austin residents transferring their money over to Waco when Baylor has a home game. I'm not trying to make a case that it's big money for the state (the benefits will come to the schools), but let's try to account for everything here.

Dr. Perryman is certainly a smart man, but someone must have him in their pocket on this one.

Link to the full article.

Hat Tip: Rational Pastime.

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