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How Much Tax Revenue Does Dallas Stand to Make from the 2010 NBA All-Star Game?

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That's the question answered by this briefing that's been prepared for the city council's Economic Development Committee on Tuesday morning. The short answer: The 2010 NBA All-Star Game is expected to generate about $2.49 million in tax revenue for the city. But keep in mind, should the council give its OK at the end of this month, $1.73 million of that will come out of the city's contingency reserves and be deposited into something called a Major Events Trust Fund controlled by the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts before the game -- on February 5. Money put into the trust fund by the participating cities and the state covers, oh, everything from crowd and traffic control for events to more vague things like "public safety" and "emergency management." (Speaking of which, when's the "Mass Casualty exercise"? Says only "fall 2009." Sounds like quite the photo op.)

Which means, after all those expenses are covered out of the trust fund: "Potential tax revenue gain to the city is estimated to be $760,000," according to the council briefing. And keep in mind, that guesstimated income doesn't include other intangible benefits weighed by the city, among them "secondary spending, media exposure, growth to visitor industry, etc." Which, of course, is ... priceless.

So how'd the Comptroller do the math?

Well, hard to say till we see the state's homework (note to self: File an open records request). But per an earlier council briefing, the All-Star North Texas Basketball Local Organizing Committee (of which Mavs president and CEO Terdema Ussery is president) and the NBA had the Comptroller conduct a study last month of the cities likely to be profit from out-of-staters' money. And while the game itself will be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington on February 14 (and broadcast on ESPN), most of the ancillary events will take place in Dallas: The celebrity game, Three-Point Shootout and the Slam Dunk Contest, for instance, will take place at the American Airlines Center February 12 and 13, while the Jam Session will be held at the Dallas Convention Center on February 11-13. (And, says the briefing, the Association's considering some official events in the "West End, Deep Ellum, [and] McKinney Ave/Uptown.")

Which means that even though the game's in Arlington, far as the city's concerned, most of the money will stay here. From the briefing:

Major Events Trust Fund Why Participate

  • Hosting City-wide and regional special events generate millions of dollars of economic impact.
  • Sanctioning organizations sponsor Community Awareness programs/initiatives.
  • Global exposure from media broadcasts will allow the City of Dallas to showcase the investment in its image and infrastructure.
  • The City of Dallas can benefit by providing the majority of the required hotel room nights. A large portion of the visitors to the region will visit the city's restaurants and other entertainment venues.

Three years ago, then-University of Texas at Arlington economics prof Craig Depken co-authored a controversial study that said "mega-events" such as all-star and playoff games don't really do much to boost tax revenues anyhow. (In fact, Depken and his co-author said, data often points to a decrease.) But even a nonbeliever like Depken -- who, turns out, moved to North Carolina to get out of the shadow of Cowboys Stadium -- acknowledged the benefit of pro basketball's mid-season wingding: "Among the All Star Games, only the NBA All Star game generates increased taxable sales and increased sales tax revenues."

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