Given how new stadium deals tend to work out for cities, will the NFL draft lead to a similar outcome in Chicago?
Choose Chicago, the nonprofit, quasi-governmental tourism board that brokered the deal, has not released details on proposed spending, nor does it have to. The outfit does claim that no tax dollars will be spent and says sponsorships and donations will cover the costs. Plus, they say the event will provide another opportunity to show Chicago off to the world.
Allen Sanderson, a University of Chicago economist who studies sports, is doubtful of the purported benefits, and so are we. “We’re going to be paying for the right to have this party in our own backyard,” he told the Tribune…
The NFL is a linebacker that has sacked cities (and doctors who speak out about player concussions). We would hate to see Chicago get its bell rung, too. Despite broad assurances from Choose Chicago, we deserve to know how much this shindig might cost before the league turns the city into a temporary backdrop for its TV extravaganza.
Perhaps the real details will be released years down the road when people don’t care as much. Additionally, even if the NFL Draft doesn’t require any tax dollars, will there be conclusive proof that it was a net economic gain as opposed to a drain (compared to other possible events that could have been held, the drawbacks of closing down streets and parks for the event, etc.)?