Sports in the City

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With their loss to the New Jersey Nets in the NBA's Eastern Conference semifinals on Wednesday, the Hornets officially ended their affiliation with the city of Charlotte after 14 years. The Hornets are flying to New Orleans after a season that saw them finish last in the league in attendance.

The city of New Orleans has reportedly made an extremely generous offer to the Hornets' ownership in order to lure them to the Big Easy, and local political and civic leaders have been fiercely lobbying the NBA to approve the move.

New Orleans is just one in a long list of cities that have made a full-court press to either lure or keep a major sports franchise. The conventional wisdom would say that a sports franchise brings money and prestige to a city. The city of Charlotte only found itself a part of the American consciousness after the Hornets joined the league in 1988. But is the conventional wisdom right?

This hour, does a sports franchise make the city? A look at the lengths cities will go to lure a major sports team and whether or not the costs justify the benefits.


Andrew Zimbalist, professor of economics at Smith College, author of "Baseball and Billions: A Probing Look Inside the Big Business of Our National Pastime" and "Sports, Jobs, and Taxes: The Economic Impact of Sports Teams and Stadiums"

Richard Florida, Professor of Regional Economic Development at Carnegie Mellon University, author of "The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It's Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life"

Rick Bonnell, NBA Reporter for The Charlotte Observer

This program aired on May 17, 2002.


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