Joe Miller and I have already said a lot regarding the new study claiming that a new Rams stadium would have a positive fiscal impact on the city. However, there is still more to talk about. One thing that stands out is the number of events they think a new stadium will host.
The number of events matter because it factors into how the authors calculate additional sales taxes a new stadium would generate. They estimate that the new stadium development would host 123 events, including professional soccer and high-school sports. For the sake of discussion, let’s grant that a new stadium will keep the Rams here. What of these other events?
It is no sure thing that Major League Soccer (MLS) will locate a soccer team here. This is important because MLS spending makes up a quarter of the authors’ calculation. The authors should not be counting on soccer revenue without a guarantee that a new team will actually exist.
Beyond the MLS, how many concerts, high-school/college sports, and other events do the authors think are available for the stadium to host? Saint Louis is not lacking in venues. The Scottrade Center, Chaifetz Arena, and the Edward Jones Dome can all serve as hosts. How many net new events will this stadium attract? This study doesn’t say. Based on the authors’ other calculations, it’s possible that they would count any event as a net gain for the city, regardless of whether it came at the expense of another local venue.
Determining the number of events the proposed stadium development would attract is a difficult task. However, given the hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars on the line, it would be more prudent to have conservative estimates. The region doesn’t need another development to fall short of expectations.