If you’re a sports fan in Arlington, you’ve got a lot to brag about nowadays.
The city is seeing an explosion in entertainment appeal, luring baseball and football enthusiasts from all over with glitzy promises of good booze, live music and high-thrill play-by-play action.
In April, Mayor Jeff Williams lauded Texas Live! as “a catalyst development for Arlington that will help take our community to the next level.”
But what’s all this development doing for the local economy? The regular Joe Shmoes just trying to get around town?
According to economists, not much.
In an interview with Marketplace, Victor Matheson, a sports economist at College of the Holy Cross, said sports teams do little to help the economies of the cities they’re based in.
If anything, he said, they may do more harm than good.
There are a couple reasons for this, the first being people have preestablished entertainment budgets. Building new stadiums and offering new attractions won’t stretch these budgets, so everyday people aren’t really contributing any more to the economy than they were pre-stadium.
The second reason is the heavy congestion caused by large sporting events.
We all know the unspoken rule by now: there are certain days of the week to avoid Collins Street at all costs.
All this traffic from games can deter residents from leaving their homes, and as a result, hurt local businesses.
Lincoln Square is no stranger to store closings. In the last year, Blue Mesa Grill, Half Price Books, Sherlock’s Baker St. Pub & Grill and now Bed Bath & Beyond have all been forced to shutter their doors.
Our stadiums, ballparks and entertainment districts aren’t going anywhere any time soon, so what can we do?
For starters, we can brave the traffic for the sake of our city.
Without a steady and reliable flow of customers, businesses will continue to close, meaning fewer jobs and fewer affordable local options for dining and retail.
So yes, the shiny new buildings are great fun to look at and talk about. But they come with a dark side as well, and the people of Arlington need to be there, wallets in hand, to make up for the drawbacks.
The Shorthorn Editorial Board is made up of Opinion Editor Shay Cohen, Editor-in-Chief Narda Perez, News Editor Samantha Douty, Life and Entertainment Editor Maxwell Hilliard, Copy Desk Chief Caitlin Sherrill, Sports Reporter Dallas Johnson and News Reporter Jacob Reyes.
Johnson was not present for this editorial meeting.