Canadians have being cheering loudly for the Toronto Blue Jays.
But CIBC World Markets economist Avery Shenfeld asks if they should also be cheering for the economic impact of the team’s success.
At the micro level, he notes in a recent release, there are positive implications for the company that owns the team–Rogers Communications. “But will spending on everything from tickets to t-shirts also represent a lift [for] Ontario or even national GDP? Not likely.”
Shenfeld explains, “Sports events that bring in fans from outside a region, including Olympic games or even the Super Bowl, draw in spending that would otherwise not flow to the local economy. [However], that’s much less the case for baseball playoffs, where the bulk of the spending comes from existing residents.”
Sports bars may be full on game nights, but that comes at the expense of venues without televisions, he says. And, “Those staying home [are] tuned to the game, leaving fewer buying paid-to-view movies or going out to the local cinema.”
Further, recent games scheduled during working hours could have cut into people’s productivity.
Finally, says Shenfeld, a 2005 analysis of economic activity in cities that have hosted MLB World Series games finds there are no statistically significant impacts of hosting such games.
But, he cautions, “There is one way that the Jays playoff run could affect the macro economy. Voting day [is] coincide[ing] with Game 3 of the ALCS. [Since] younger cohorts are already are less inclined to vote than their elders, a rush to get a seat at downtown sports bars could give them [yet] another excuse to skip going to the polls.”
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