As plans for an NFL stadium in Carson move toward a vote this spring, supporters released a study Wednesday night detailing how the project could benefit the South Bay city.
Two NFL teams playing in a new stadium could generate more than half a billion dollars in spending, enough to support nearly 9,000 full- and part-time jobs once construction is completed, according to a study paid for by the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders .
As that money ripples through the regional economy, its impact would grow even greater, says the report, which was conducted by economists at the nonprofit Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.
These sort of studies are routinely panned by many independent economists, who note most money spent at football games is local spending redirected from other forms of entertainment, be it a baseball game or a night at the movies.
"An NFL franchise has very, very little net economic impact on L.A.'s economy," said Victor Matheson, an economist who studies sports at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.
The report's author, Christine Cooper, disputes that, saying the impact of adding two pro football franchises to a region that has gone two decades without one should not be underestimated.
"This is new activity that's going to occur here," said Cooper, whose group routinely performs economic impact studies for businesses, nonprofits and governments in L.A. "This is going to create jobs that we can see, based on spending that will occur."
The report — which estimates building the stadium would generate more than 10,000 construction jobs over several years — should please building trades unions, whose members have been some of the project's most ardent supporters. It's also good news for city officials, who have backed the stadium based on hopes for local jobs and new tax revenue.
A two-team stadium, the report estimates, would generate $8 million in tax revenue each year for Carson, far more than the empty former landfill site does now and roughly twice what was projected under a shopping center proposal previously approved on the land.
"We're excited about the numbers," said City Atty. Sunny Soltani, who received a copy of the report hours before City Council members were to discuss the figures with team officials in a closed-door session Wednesday night.
Carson has hired its own economic consultants to review the plan and its impact on city finances. Soltani said she expects that report to be done by the end of April, after which — if county election officials verify enough signatures — City Council members will either adopt an initiative approving the stadium or schedule a public vote on the matter.
Inglewood officials conducted a similar fast-paced process before approving a $1.86-billion stadium there in February.
The Carson stadium would generate significantly fewer jobs and far less tax revenue than Inglewood's proposal from St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, according to each projects' reports. That's in part because Kroenke and his partners are also building a large shopping center, office complex and up to 2,000 residences near the stadium.
The proposal in Carson is limited to a stadium, parking and a small retail complex. Inglewood, unlike Carson, also has a ticket tax that would raise $15 million a year for the city.
Carson stadium backers point out the project won't cost the city any tax revenue, while generating sales and property taxes on a site that has been vacant for decades. And, Cooper said, it will bring people from all across Southern California.
"On a game day, tens of thousands of fans will show up," she said. "They'll come from Ventura County, the Inland Empire, San Diego."
And, she notes, they will boost the economy in Carson.