In response to concerns about potential racial profiling of its players, 27% of whom are of Hispanic origin, the Major League Baseball Players Association today issued a statement opposing the recently passed immigration law in Arizona and stated that “if the current law goes into effect, the MLBPA will consider additional steps necessary to protect the rights and interests of our members.”
One obvious “additional step” would be a boycott of the 2011 All Star Game, which is currently scheduled for Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Most economists here at TSE would consider this an empty threat given the small size of the real economic benefits of mega-events such as the All-Star Game. Ironically, given the effort that sports boosters have put into publishing exaggerated economic impact statements, however, such a threat would likely be given considerable credence.
Of course, while a boycott would be economically insignificant, one cannot deny the sociological impact of sports, and such an action would certainly attract massive media attention. But in terms of dollars and cents, the state would not even notice its absence.