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I wanted to pass along some additional thoughts that didn’t make my story today about National City’s pro basketball plans.

  • We reported that National City officials are seeking a meeting with former Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo. I put that to David Carter, executive director of the USC Sports Business Institute. Carter said Colangelo would not likely be actively involved in putting a bid together.

“Colangelo’s role, if any, is more ceremonial,” Carter said. “Guys at that level don’t need to be bothered with the early trials and tribulations of a city’s bid. When the deal is far along, a guy like that could help put it over the top.”

  • The businesses located along National City’s waterfront are not anxious to see maritime land used for tourism. Ed Plant, chairman of the San Diego Port Tenants Association, said a basketball arena should be built elsewhere.

“Business is booming on the port,” Plant said. “If they have a (basketball) franchise, they can put that team anywhere. … The working waterfront and industrial area is strong. It’s a $10.6 billion industry. Industrial businesses aren’t glamorous, but they pay well and they’re good jobs.”

  • While researching my piece, I stumbled across an interesting story that ran recently in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. The paper traced the failed history of basketball in San Diego, looking for lessons about the possible departure of the Seattle SuperSonics.

The story highlighted an interesting point — professional basketball does not necessarily have a significant economic impact, which is exactly why National City officials are pursuing it.

Reporter Mike Lewis writes:

If the Sonics should go — and privately many people close to the situation expect exactly that — there are a few things the Emerald City should expect: a negligible economic impact; a long, wistful hoops hangover; and no replacement team for a generation at the earliest. …

Economists — at least those not under contract by professional teams — say major league sports teams don’t appear to be the economic engine that team proponents sometimes claim. In fact, some studies suggest they might be more of a drain.

“We looked at nearly every move you could imagine,” said (Gary) Sauer, a national expert on sports economics. “If there were something significant — employment increases, big tax benefits — we’d see it, but we don’t. If there is any benefit, it’s small potatoes.”

ROB DAVIS

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