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Overstating King James' Impact on the Cleveland Economy

Meghan Barr, an AP correspondent from Cleveland, needs a lesson in economics in this article about LeBron James.

"James has been with Cleveland since he was drafted in 2003 but now is at the center of a high-profile pursuit by several NBA teams. The Cavs can offer him a longer and more lucrative contract under league rules, but other teams are trying to convince him that they are his ticket to the championships that have so far eluded him.

James has helped inject untold millions into Cleveland's economy. His team, which had an average home attendance of about 11,500 the year before he joined, sold out every game in its 20,000-seat arena last season. Having arguably the NBA's biggest star also has meant more television revenue and more jersey sales for the Cavs, and a higher profile for their often-maligned city."

As you might expect after reading numerous stories like this one, Barr doesn't consider the fact that the thousands of people in attendance at Cav's games come largely from the city of Cleveland.  Had they not attended a Cav's game, they would have spent their money elsewhere in the city.

What about the out-of-towners who go to Cav's games?  They also probably came to Cleveland for some other reason - business, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (which still, IMHO, needs to induct Rush - a shameless plug, I know), to visit relatives, etc.  Had they not gone to a Cav's game, they would have done something else in the city.

No doubt that some of the restaurant and bar owners around the arena have cause for concern, but I doubt the whole economy of the city of Cleveland is going to go belly up if Lebron takes his show elsewhere.

Via John Palmer