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I feel obliged to reply though its hard to pin down the question. "What are the odds we can do accurate predictions?" I guess I have to point out some of us do economic impact analysis for a living. Tourist related impacts are fairly straighforward compared to other proposed projects.

the point where you say the "City has still hadn't calculated numbers" mischaracterizes what is in the story. The line about the city is not about the $50 million number (or 30 or whatever) which is economic impact on the region. The story talks about how they have not come up with a tax revenue impact which is a very very small piece of the overall economic impact on the region. The city itself is not going to be in the business of measuring regional economic impact anyway. I'm also unclear the meaning of 'still' in that the city does not really have the resources to routinely delineate the revenue impact of specific events. I wish they did but nobody is waiting for such a number to be produced by them.

The only other thing worth noting. $30 mil, $50 mil, or as the SF article says, something like $65 mil is what they expect for their all star game.... are these big numbers? or small? The Pittsburgh region has an economy that produces about $100 billion in output per year.

Sam M

Actually, it was not just about the tax impact. The entire quote:

"The city had no estimate of the economic impact of last year's baseball All-Star Game on the local economy or the tax take."

The overall impact on the local economy OR the tax take.

As for whether anyone is planning to measure that overall impact, I would think someone might. I mean, people make predictions. Then see if they are true. Helps make future predictions, and all that.

As for whether or not anyone could reasonably expect anyone to try to measure it--whether that be the city, MLB, the Pirates, etc.--I point again to the Post-Gazette:

"It may take days or even weeks to thoroughly examine the overall economic impact of hosting Major League Baseball's celebrity-packed, midsummer event -- and whether the big game truly produced the $52 million boost to the region projected by VisitPittsburgh."

Days. OR EVEN WEEKS. To measure what?

"The overall economic impact."

Maybe it's absolutely absurd to expect someone to measure that. But I am clearly not the only one who thought someone might. And clearly not the only one who expected it to happen by now.

Sam M

"The city itself is not going to be in the business of measuring regional economic impact anyway. I'm also unclear the meaning of 'still' in that the city does not really have the resources to routinely delineate the revenue impact of specific events."

Well, if Stephanie Watson is right, someone somewhere is in the business of measuring regional economic impact. Because she came up with a number. $30 million. Here's the link:


She says $30 million. For the All-Star game. Like I said, I have no idea where she got that number. But it certainly wasn't the projection being bandied about. And it certainly wasn't the number still being used by MLB. Which is still $52 million.

I don't know. I guess I am not sure why I am such a knucklehead for noticing the enormous discrepancy (40 percent short of projections) if her numbers are indeed true.

And by the way, if VisitPittsburgh has the resources to generate the projections (it was listed as a source in a few stories) why doesn't it have the resources to check? Would it really be that much harder than making the projection? If so, does that mean that the projection is a wild guess? If so, why use it?

And it certainly seems like VisitPittsburgh isn't a stranger to making such calculations about economic impact. From the website:

"Pittsburgh concluded 2003 hosting 28 conventions in the new facility, exceeding projections established by SMG Management for 20 bookings in the building’s first full year* of operation. Combined, these 28 conventions generated $63.24 million in direct spending, $572,000 in RAD tax and $2.17 million in hotel tax."


And here's a story about someone actually measuring the economic impact of the "Film Office."


VisitPittsburgh took part in that, too. So it's obviously someone's job to do that.

So it appears that some IS actually in charge of measuring such things. When they feel like it. Here is VisitPittsburgh's description of itself:

"VisitPittsburgh is the official tourism promotion agency for Allegheny County and the lead tourist promotion agency for the Pittsburgh and Its Countryside group."

Like I said. Maybe they got it right. Maybe the All-Star game did generate $50 million. But maybe Watson was correct and it didn't. Which, er... kind of matters. Because VisitPittsburgh appears to me in charge of making lots of promises. Here's a recent one in the Post-Gazette:

"Pittsburgh hosted 36 major conventions last year and has 38 slated so far for 2007, with "a couple more in the wings," he said. Through the year 2015, he said, the center has a total of 77 events already booked, which VisitPittsburgh expects to generate $229 million in so-called direct spending -- or spending that it's estimated visitors and vendors directly spend on tickets, hotel rooms, food, supplies and entertainment."


And if they are off by 40 percent on that number?

Sam M

I think this bit from the Post-Gazette sums it up:

"After an event takes place, VisitPittsburgh attempts to assess whether its projections were accurate. Mr. Imperata said that for the Senior Olympics, their accounting showed that the event exceeded the prediction of about $30 million in direct spending."

This was in an article about... the All-Star Game. And about predictions of $52.3 million in economic impact.


So why is it, eight months later, the city still didn't know the impact? I guess VisitPittsburgh is not "the city." But it is charged with making these predictions and assessing them afterwards. Surely, someone from "the city" thought to ask.

All I am asking is whether they did that, and whether the number turned out to be Watson's $30 million.

And like I have said numerous times: maybe there is an explanation. Maybe the event did pump $50 million into the "local economy," but maybe that number is a "regional" one, and the city's take was only $30 million. (Although that would seem an odd thing to measure against the U.S. Open, which is not in the city.)

Or she got it wrong. Or any of a million other explanations.

But I certainly don't think I am doing anything odd in asking about it.

Someone predicted $50 million in economic impact. Then the group in charge of measuring that prediction... Did measure? Didn't measure? I am not sure yet. Then a reporter from a local TV station reported that the actual impact was $30 million. Which is 40 percent short of the prediction.

And, of course, the event in question occured in a stadium that was built with public money, justified at least in part on predictions about the economic impact of events such as the All-Star game.

In a city that continues justifying the use of public money for huge projects based, at least in part, on predictions about the economic impact.

Well, are the people making those predictions any good at it?

Seems like a really reasonable thing to ask.

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