Sport as a tool for Economic Development

Instead of handing out tax abatements to lure companies to our area, how about making world class sporting facilities available to their employees? This is part of the idea behind Five Rivers Outdoors- an outdoor adventure program run by Five Rivers Metroparks.

Project leader, Greg Brumitt envisions utilizing our extensive park system for outdoor adventure programming like backpacking or mountain biking- and the addition of a white water park through Downtown Dayton.

While Dayton is considering building two “rec-plexes”- I have been a proponent for one Mega-Rec-Plex along I-75 in the McCook neighborhood (see this post).

But the reason I’m posting today- is an old article I saved from the Dayton Daily News on May 27, 2005 about the Warrior Soccer Classic.

Note these stats:

  • 554 teams
  • 108 teams turned away because of lack of space
  • 7,500 players
  • 350 rooms reserved at the Dayton Marriott (of 400)
  • 7.4 million dollars brought into the local economy

The last figure is the most important one- if you understand the economic principle of velocity of money, you understand that bringing outside dollars into a closed economy increases the speed at which dollars circulate, expanding the effect at an exponential pace. In other words- a dollar within our local economy will circulate x number of times per period- a dollar injected into that ecosystem will move faster at first, having more impact (like when you get an unepected windfall- you tend to spend it quicker).

The other result of having this rec facilities- is they are good for everyone, not just a single company getting a tax abatement.

Now- of course, I’m already hearing you say but we would rather have had the new Honda plant- and all it’s spin-off firms than more soccer fields. Well, in some ways yes, having that plant would have been a great thing- until you realize that we’re then competing on price (how much we’re willing to give up) instead of benefits of our area (which can’t be duplicated or outbid by just any community).

It’s a question of who is your better friend? One that you buy (with tax abatements) or one that you attract because they really like you (having great recreational opportunities).

What do you think?

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