July 16, 2014
It’s business, not personal
Cleveland is riding the wave from two big announcements that will help the city out financially: winning the nomination for the 2016 Republican National Convention (RNC) and LeBron James returning back to the Cavaliers. After James’ announcement became public, tickets sold fast and the team even raised the price of the deposit from $200 to $500. Cleveland is making an even bigger comeback in sports with all the excitement about Johnny Manziel (Johnny Football) playing for the Browns. With all this good news, Cleveland will now become a more financially stable city and the economy will pick up. The Cavaliers with LeBron James return not only help sell out seats, but now the team is worth a billion dollars and is in the running for a championship. Cleveland stands to make so much money from the RNC with hotel and spending power. This city is ready for the new Lakefront to come into play with all this. The Pier now has an area where you can rent speed boats and pedal boats to have fun on the water. Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald talked about James return will now have a $500 million a year impact on the local economy, with a boost from additional ticket sales and other spending. Based on calculations by the Cuyahoga County Fiscal Office, James’ return will increase the benefit from Cavs games alone to about $268 million. Average attendance increased from about 12,000 before James joined the team to about 20,500 during his final season, the county said. Although attendance has slipped, officials expect sold out games next season with James on the court. Other spending increases will come at restaurants, convention business and hotels, FitzGerald said. Anticipated benefits include a $34 million increase in annual spending by fans at games to $170 million a year plus 500 additional jobs supported by the Cavaliers, the county said. There will even be a boost to debt-service payments because revenue from an admissions tax is used to help support about $9 million a year for the $120 million in bonds that the county issued in 1992 to build what is now Quicken Loans Arena where the team plays, said Nathan Kelly, county deputy chief of staff for economic development. The county expects a $3.5 million increase in admissions tax to put toward debt service making up for a similar sum that the county had to cover from its general fund after James left and attendance fell, Kelly said. Looking at all the dollars James is bringing back to Cleveland, many have already forgot about the way he left in 2010. I can’t speak for Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, but I am sure he is smiling and willing to let bygones be bygones. These are wise business people and not stuck on trying to back stab each other and have the crabs in the barrel mentality. They recognize this is business not personal or family taking sides. This deal is a win-win situation for James and Gilbert. When you sit around and wonder why you are not making money, look around at the source. All fingers point to attitude, more than likely. My hat is off to Gilbert for having good sense to iron out any problems and move toward making the almighty dollar. The concern for among us during this great news is if we can come together in the Black community and work for a common goal to gain some ground so we can see more economic growth. We have been working on the African American Garden forever. But Mayor Frank G. Jackson came onboard and got things moving along a little faster than in the past. Sometimes having the wrong person in place hinders everything. Having a person with no skills and paying this person to go out and hire another person to do the job you suppose to do is wasting money. Our African American Museum is nowhere like Detroit’s, but we laugh at them for being bankrupt. In the Black community, what are we contributing to the economic growth? Cleveland wake up and learn to be like Gilbert and James and put petty stuff behind us and work as Blacks moving forward. Let’s bring power to our Black community, but above all you have to learn how to give good customer service and treat everybody right. The mindset and goals of the younger generation are far different from my era. When we were coming up, working to buy a house was the American Dream. These days, living in a luxury downtown apartment is the best way to go. Cleveland is on the map now with the RNC and James coming home but where are we with the Black business?
Enjoy your summer and remember to mind your business.
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Write Wade at the Call & Post, 11800 Shaker Blvd., Cleveland, OH 44120, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Comments and questions are welcome but, because of the volume of mail, personal responses are not always possible. Please note that comments or questions may be used in a future column.