Despite claims made in the April 6 Close to Home piece "Three Strikes Against a Stadium," a 1999 study conducted for the District estimated that in its first 20 years, a baseball stadium in the city would generate $1.4 billion in direct spending and more than $2 billion in total spending. It also would create more than 2,000 jobs, generating more than $750 million in personal income. And those numbers are likely to be low.
A recent study conducted for Virginia estimated that a new baseball stadium would create more than 3,000 jobs and, over 30 years, would generate $8.5 billion in revenue from operations, fan spending and personal income. Other cities that have done a baseball stadium right have seen these types of results. Denver's Coors Field, for example, was estimated to have generated $200 million in economic impact and $56 million from sales tax in 1995 alone. And Oriole Park at Camden Yards has been credited with revitalizing Baltimore's downtown.
The District needs only to look at MCI Center to see what a stadium could do. MCI Center almost single-handedly has revived the east end of downtown, and it has helped bring hundreds of millions of dollars in investment and thousands of job opportunities to the District. A baseball stadium could do the same for the New York Avenue-Florida Avenue area, one proposed site for a stadium, or for the Waterfront-South Capitol Street corridor, another strong contender.
On top of all of this, we can get the money for a stadium without dipping into funds we're using now. Funding would come from a tax on player salaries, taxes on goods sold at the stadium and a new fee imposed on large businesses.
Baseball in our midst could provide not only entertainment but also inspiration, especially for our youth. So let's dare to be great. Washington is becoming a great city, and baseball is a great opportunity the city can't afford to pass up.
Member (At Large)
Do Virginia officials really expect 40,000 fans per game at a new taxpayer-funded stadium fielding the lackluster Montreal Expos [Metro, April 9]? I guess they subscribe to the "build it and they will come" theory. Aren't championship teams the ones that draw 3 million fans a year? Does location turn a mediocre team into a championship team? Major League Baseball may not care if those projections are on target, but taxpayers, who will be on the hook for a bond for a state-of-the-art stadium, do.
Del. Vincent Callahan's assertion that "people from Virginia" won't go to the District for baseball is absurd. Perhaps suburbanites from Fairfax County (which he represents) are less inclined to travel, but those of us who live in Arlington don't mind the short drive or Metro ride to attend events in the District.
Maybe Mr. Callahan can offer up a site even more convenient for his constituents -- Fairfax County comes to mind -- and leave decisions that affect Arlington to those who live here.