In his excitement over attracting the championship game, Hagan claimed the clash of titans would generate roughly 2,000 jobs and pave the streets of Tampa in gold. The commissioner based his assertion on a couple of articles he admitted he had only "skimmed" attesting to the pile-driving economic engine a college title contest could visit upon a city.The irony is that Hagan's comments appeared in the Times and went largely unchallenged initially.
Of course, such estimates are complete phooey.
And yet, despite a solid and growing amount of data to the contrary, public officials like Hagan persist in inaccurately claiming a Super Bowl or a college football championship game will generate impressive job growth and profits for the host city. Poppycock, but understandable poppycock.
After all, you couldn't very well expect a sitting county commissioner to say something like: "Even though the NCAA championship game won't do diddly to our bottom line and even though it might only create a handful of jobs, and not ones with much of a future at that, having the event here will look really swell on television and the catering will be fabulous."
Elected officials are supposed to be all about monetary returns influencing their decisions, not martinis.
But Ruth's hard line against sports' economic engine claims contradicts the stance the Times' editorial board seems to take with the Rays, which - if nothing else - attests to the independence columnists enjoy at the paper.