Calculated by Robert A. Williams
Shelby– Our previous article showed the ALWS attendance numbers were vastly overstated or perhaps just willfully exaggerated. 110,036 different people attending the ball games as noted by some Star articles, which quoted people whose best interest was in inflating numbers, was impossible. Only about 82,000 attended the last Super Bowl. At best, the attendance for each of the 15 games were all added together. Our previous attendance calculations were based on actually counting people to determine if any new money from outside Cleveland County was being spent inside Cleveland County.
As usual our article with objective methods of counting and estimating was run down by multitude of articles in the Star. The Star always paints people with differing opinions as “nay sayers,” “Debbie Downers” and other such derogatory terms-even when the differing opinions are valid and certainly when those opinions turn out to be right. Even former County Manager David Deer was quoted by the Star as saying that the attendance numbers and the financial impact on Cleveland County could be calculated, although David Deer nor anyone else offered no calculations to counter our calculations.
So, who is right? Everyone agrees the field is top quality. Probably the best in North Carolina and beyond. Going to a game at Keeter Stadium is nice. But is it worth what it cost and will it be financially self sustaining? Having to have 700 volunteers at ZERO pay indicate there are financial storms ahead for Keeter Stadium and ALWS in Shelby. Of course the Star quotes Economic Development folks who said 10,000 people attended the Livermush festival and the ALWS brought in gazillions of dollars and 110,036 people. The Star never questions absurd statements they are given, probably because of the advertising money spent at the Star. Remember the Cleveland County Schools get good coverage from the Star after CCS paid them over a quarter of a million dollars for “consulting.”
The Star, probably mistakenly, published an article by Jackie Bridges on August 13, 2014 with information provided by American Legion officials which provide accurate accounting for the money spent by the American League to put together the ALWS. These officials have no reason to exaggerate or lie. So, we will use the information provided by the American League to determine how much outside money the ALWS brought into Cleveland County. Read on at your own peril. You may get angry that Cleveland County spent so much and got back so little. And we didn’t even include how much money the local folks paid ALWS as their cut on ticket sales. Most likely we lost money.
World Series costs (From the Star provided by American League officials)
Here’s a breakdown of approximate costs to bring teams and officials to Shelby for the World Series, according to Mike Buss, American Legion Baseball Program
$609,000 – cost to get players, coaches and support staff to eight regional baseball tournaments and provide lodging and meal money.
Editors Note: None of the regional games were played in Shelby, so, not one penny of this money came to Cleveland County
$179,000 – cost to get players, coaches and support staff to Shelby for the World
Series and provide lodging and meal money
Editors Note: The costs noted here are broken down in detail below, therefore this figure will not be counted because it would be counted twice otherwise.
$80,000 – cost of airfare and other travel for World Series teams
Editors Note: Not one penny of airfare and travel TO Shelby will come to Cleveland County. All of this money is spent somewhere else. To US Air, etc. who don’t send a penny of their money to Cleveland County
• $35,000 – cost of lodging for World Series teams in local hotels
Editors Note: This cost represents local lodging. It is likely that a part of this money went to Gaston County, Rutherford County and South Carolina. But, we will count this $35,000 as money coming to Cleveland County hotels and motels. Actually, we will double this figure to $70,000 to account for the families of the team players
• $55,800 – cost of travel, lodging and meals for American Legion baseball support staff
- Editors Note:
The cost of travel was spent elsewhere. We will cut this figure in half to $27,900 for lodging and meals for the American Legion support Staff and families.
• $14,000 – total cost of providing meals for Legion players and coaches for their stay during the World Series
Editors Note: This cost was spent in Cleveland County and we will double this amount to account for the team’s families to $28,000.
$18 – what each American Legion player and coach gets for meals per day, at a rate of $6 per meal for three meals.
Editors Note: This amount has already been counted as noted above. This is just information on how much the team players were allowed for meals each day.
So, Now let’ add things up.
• $70,000 for lodging for the teams and their families
• $27,900 for lodging and meals for American League officials and families
• $28,000 for meals for the teams and their families
$125,900 Total cash brought in by the ALWS teams, AL Officials and families
Now figure All of the $70,000 and $27,900 ($97,900) items related to lodging was spent in Cleveland County. ONLY about 6% or so would come to the county as occupancy tax. The rest would go to hotel operating expenses, payroll and profits paid to the owners.
$97,900 X 6% = $5,874 Occupancy Tax revenue to the county, all of which goes straight into “Economic development Projects” with no accountability. No benefit to average taxpayers.
Let’s figure sales tax on the total amount at 2%.
$125,900 X 2% = $2,518
Now consider that $millions were spent on the Keeter Stadium ball field, press box, stands, etc. by sponsors and others. Keeter Stadium is located on School property, so the taxpayers kick in something.
Ticket sales were mostly paid by sponsors and given away to locals so the stands would look full for ESPN. Actually, if the local ALWS officials stick to the 110,036 they claimed attended the games, the American League cut of the ticket sales paid out could exceed any ticket sales to any outsiders. We won’t go further into that to hold down the embarrassment of our so called civic leaders and the Star.
Just think, all these $millions spent to get $2,518 back in cold hard cash in return for the taxpayers in Cleveland County. That amounts to about
per taxpayer. And the event sponsors and anonymous donors get to write off their costs as tax deductions. So everybody is happy, right?
And, all you taxpayers, hold on to that 40 cents, I probably was overly conservative in my cost estimates. I am sure future maintenance costs at Keeter Stadium will come down on the schools who will want money too. They always do. Ask your School Board members and county commissioners about this before another Keeter Stadium, LeGrand Center is built as well as the $2 million gun range that is about to be built.
Editor’s Note: Folks, enjoy the games at Keeter Stadium on the campus of Shelby High School. If you haven’t seen the financial light behind all the exaggerations by now, you probably never will. Hopefully the voice of the people will be heard on Election Day and we never have to write about this again.