Monday, October 12, 2015

Initial study of baseball impact on Joplin deeply flawed

The 2013 study that convinced Joplin City Council to give the go-ahead for more than $4 million worth of construction at Joe Becker Stadium was deeply flawed and describes millions of dollars in benefits for the city by using a model that does not apply here.

The study, which was commissioned by the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce and was done by the Economic Strategy Center of Lansing, Michigan, based National Community Development Services, relies heavily on prior research that was done by Minor League Baseball MiLB and was primarily based on teams that were affiliated with major league baseball.

The study shows that no such survey was taken concentrating on independent teams such as the Joplin Blasters and their opponents in the American Association.

Those calculations led to estimates of 3,500 attendance at each game, a number that was twice the turnout for the Blasters' inaugural season.

With the attendance diminished by that much, naturally the estimated totals for vending sales, parking, and other game-related activities were also far lower than the original estimates.

And while many Joplin area residents enjoyed watching Blasters games, the Chamber's overly optimistic assessment of the impact minor league baseball would have on Joplin could also impact the millions of future dollars the study said the city would receive via loft apartments and retail in the area of Joe Becker Stadium.

The study indicated the city would benefit from having two restaurants, office space, 16 loft apartments, and a couple of retail stores, with an initial benefit coming from the construction.

The study can be found at this link.


25 comments:

Dusty Roads said...

Joplin just loves the smoke and mirrors

Anonymous said...

Why, or why, are our city leaders always asleep at the switch?

Anonymous said...

Rob Obrians return on investment is way into the negative. He consistently tries to take credit for jobs that are created that he has absolutely nothing to do with. One of the best lines I heard on this blog. The chamber holds themselves out as beacons for free enterprise while taking $300,000 from taxpayers. I also hear they sell nearly a million dollars in memberships to businesses that are used to pay chamber employees. Can anyone confirm total chamber revenues?

Anonymous said...

This study presented by Rob Obrian cost the city 5 million dollars and received just $75,000 in revenue. Those are numbers that would get any private sector employee fired. Now Rob Obrian wants extra money to help attract new retail.

Anonymous said...

Randy thanks for posting the link to the report the chambers Rob Obrian presented. This entire study deserves a second look. I believe it should be sent to the state auditors and possibly the Attorney General.

Anonymous said...

As I said on the earlier blog, this situation should not come as a surprise. Several individuals, including some from individuals with experience with professional sports operations, told the City Council that the attendance estimates and the Chamber commissioned feasibility study were flawed and erroneously overstated. I am fairly certain that a open records request to the City on any communication on this subject will demonstrate this fact. While there may exist some debate as to the quality of the product, the real issue is that Joplin does not have a large enough population base or large enough suitable demographic base to support a professional sports venture of this type given the fixed overhead that is involved. It is an issue of economics and demographics.....not wishful thinking. In this case "build it and they shall come" will not pay the bills. At the end of the day, baseball at this level is a business, not a recreational hobby to be financed by the sweat of the public's brow.

Anonymous said...

Let's move the chamber offices over to Joe Becker and see if they like it as much then.

Anonymous said...

>>Why, or why, are our city leaders always asleep at the switch?<<

Why do you think sleeping is the problem?

Maybe creeping...

Anonymous said...

It isn't the cities job or the chambers to put butts in seats. It's the teams job to do that. Oscar, Shawn and Gabe have no idea how to run a team.

Anonymous said...

There is blame all around. Rob O'Brien for a flawed report, and creating the illusion that he brings great deals to Joplin. The city leaders because they were blind, and aren't smart enough to ask the questions we need. Our voters for electing some of these people, City employees for not doing a better job of due dilligence. and as 5:11 said, the owners have no idea how to run a team and stadium. They missed so many opportunities to improve the experience at the stadium to get more people to come more often.

Anonymous said...

In the study one factor considered was Joplin's distance to Springfield, NW Ark, and Tulsa teams (about 70 miles). The populations of the cities (using the US Census estimates for 2014) were roughly Springfield - 165,000, NW Arkansas - 502,000, Tulsa Metro 937,000, Joplin 51,000. Anyone else see a problem here?

Anonymous said...

In response to 6:36am.....Yes, and this was pointed out to the City before the agreement was made.

Anonymous said...

6:36 AM- All of those cities have baseball teams of their own. Good catch. What a ridiculous piece of crap. I wonder if Rob told the group conducting the study what outcome he was hoping for? Why did they hire a company out of Michigan to do the study? No Missouri companies capable of doing it or maybe no Missouri companies were willing to skew the numbers to O'Brien's liking. What a huge disappointment for baseball fans.

The fault also lies with the management though. What a bunch of amateurs. Terrible marketing and the same promotions all season long. The musical chairs bit was fun the first few times, but then it just got old. Despite the lack of marketing and promotions and even with the poor efforts at connecting the fans with the team, there was a good response. People really want to support the team. If managed and promoted properly, it would be a success. I hope someone who knows what they're doing takes it over and makes it a success.

Anonymous said...

According to this video, someone is lying, either Rohr or the team owner, Oscar.

http://joplinmo.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=&clip_id=170&meta_id=8556

Anonymous said...

The city is once again in a lose lose situation via the Yellow Brick Road. The city has little choice now, and would be at least semi-wise, if possible, to go ahead and lower the lease amount and hope the team can make a go of it. If not, we have a 4.5 million dollar stadium sitting there being used for nothing. If the team owners then can still not come up with the payments, then let it go and call it another boondoggle served up by the council, and it won't be the last.

Anonymous said...

Adjust the next year's lease to the following; $2 per ticket goes directly to the city until 75,000 pass through the gates. After 75K, $1 per attendee. The team may have 1,250 comps per season without having to pay the fee (25 comps per game). If the team wants to comp more tickets, they pay the usage fee. If a minimum of $100,000 is not met, the city has the right to evict after the current season.

Anonymous said...

"There's an old saying in Joplin," he began.

A series of awkward pauses followed. "I know it's in Missouri, probably in Joplin that says, 'Fool me once, shame on ... shame on you. Fool me... You can't get fooled again!'"

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't watch if they played in my backyard

Anonymous said...

I did the math awhile back, and surprisingly, the percentage of population to attendance isn't too far off between the regional minor league teams and Joplin. Now whether this can be sustained is another question, as these teams all see the numbers slide down over time unless the team gets really good.

Anonymous said...

Rob "O" is a scam on rotten shit.
He will follow the money and say what is needed by who
Has the money.

A good one from him when he said Joplin is growing west to the Wildwood Ranch......really.......

What a ass...

Anonymous said...

When your top promotional event is Midget wrestling you are going to struggle.
Also are they called the Blasters because of the speakers they have? I still cant hear out of one ear. Some simple improvements that dont cost any money could help. Good luck Blasters!

Anonymous said...

I am not understanding the criticism of the use of Tulsa, Springfield, and NW Arkansas distances and minor league teams. The study is correctly pointing out that these teams are live baseball competition for entertainment dollars for a Joplin based team. The study is not saying Joplin is comparable to those cities or that people in those cities will travel to Joplin for baseball. It is saying that some people in the Joplin trade area will drive to those cities for live baseball and rather than attend a blasters game.


The errors in the study that I see are in some base assumptions:

1. Dollars spent at ballpark. The available study for reference was a MLB study. So the comparisons are not apples to oranges. Merchandising for example in my opinion would be higher per attendee for a MLB affiliated team than an independent team.

2. Why a 3,500 seat stadium and why 65% capacity estimate? Does the 3,500 stadium allow for other events that draw tourists like the amateur showcase (I forget the name)? Are other events planned here that need 3,500 seats. Is this a minimum size for this independent league or maybe a future class A affiliated team? Is there another study that set the size and attendance expectation? Otherwise, the study should have looked at optional capacities which would have had lower construction costs.

Anonymous said...

Don't you see???? It DOESN'T matter that the team can't make a big enough profit now. The answer to the question is to FOLLOW THE MONEY. The profit has been made. Who actually made money on the scam?

Anonymous said...

Shorter version of 7:39: Who already got paid?

Look for any up front winners.

Anonymous said...

The Chamber got a kick back just like they do with most shady dealings. Crossland Construction did the actual work, but they are still trying to get payment in full. CGA, the architects, got paid A LOT for this and they are totally unqualified to do a stadium. They also got the contract for the schools. Fun fact: CGA is owned by Sen Richard's son in law.