With Lebron James returning to the Cleveland Cavaliers the city they call the mistake by the lake is now BELIEVELAND
When LeBron James left Cleveland on July 8, 2010 as a man understanding evolving and transcending to further levels I understood, but as a fan I was furious just as most fans were. Immediately some burned his jersey, called him a traitor, and even the next morning in front of my coffee shop, Urbean Joe Café on 147th and St. Clair the fellas threw his jersey in the street so that cars could run over it all day. LeBron James was a young man who grew up with dreams to win it all, who grew up to play in a city just some 30 miles away from his own hometown Akron, Ohio. Some say how and why would he leave? Like I said earlier part of me knew the answer but the Clevelander in me had a hard time dealing with number 23’s exit. The city of Cleveland suffered, not only a city that was already bruised, battered, scarred but hard from failed attempts by all sports teams to bring home championship hard wear, but a city that had suffered over the years economically. LeBron’s presence was giving the city hope as the economy was making a positive turn with celebrities, tourist and worldwide socialites flocking to Cleveland to see the phenomenon King James. With LeBron leaving the aftermath was devastating the cities economy began to spiral downward and crime began to rise the moral of the city was reeling not even the drafting of Kyrie Irving who went on to be Rookie of the Year, make All-Star appearances and even winning MVP of the all-star game was enough to pacify Cavalier fans.
Now he’s back and determined to bring championships to The Land and things are looking up for our city. Lets take a look at some of the projections financial experts are proposing the return of the prodigal son will produce.
The home games: $48 million
James boosted Cleveland’s stadium crowds by 6,500 fans a game, a 46% increase from before he arrived. The rise in ticket sales, paid parking, restaurant and bar celebrations and hotel rooms added up to an additional $1.2 million per game, or $180 per fan. Multiply that by 41 home games and you arrive at a $48-million boost, according to calculations by the city’s convention and visitors bureau.
The playoffs: $150 million
If the Cavaliers make it to the playoffs, and you assume sellout crowds at the Quicken Loans Arena, that might add up to an average of $100 per person on all the merrymaking (in food, drinks, car rentals, paraphernalia, etc.) according to 2010 calculations by the University of Illinois at Chicago economist John Skorburg.
The team’s value: $121 million
The Cavaliers lost 26% of their franchise value, down from $476 million, in the year after James left for the Miami Heat, according to Forbes. At the time, it was the biggest one-year drop by any team since the publication started valuing NBA franchises in 1998. The franchise’s value has since recovered to $515 million. Would James’s return have an even bigger reverse effect?
The taxes: $1 million
One of the wee perks, for James, of living in Florida: no state income tax. Not so in Ohio. Before James scurried off to a tax-free zone, he was paying upwards of $1 million to local governments in taxes on income, property and endorsements. In local income taxes alone, he paid about $353,250 to Cleveland, Independence and Akron combined.
The fringe benefits: priceless
If James gets his messaging right this time around, his return to Cleveland could inspire feel-good municipal chest-thumping that generates economic development: more young people to stick around, more business owners to set up shop there, and so on.
James himself is an intrepid entrepreneur; he reportedly made $30 million when Apple bought his Beats Electronics business in June, based on a stake he took in the company for promoting its headphones. Just look at what Magic Johnson has done for the shopping malls and theaters of Los Angeles in recent years. No doubt James wants those boasting rights, too.