Journalist Noah Pransky on Radioactivity Wednesday

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Dunedin Blue Jays Field at night
By Len Williams CC BY-SA 3.0

Questionable analysis used in deciding sports subsidies

The state of Florida and local governments spend a lot of money subsidizing stadiums for sports teams. Host Rob Lorei talked with Noah Pransky, who is an investigative reporter at WTSP whose most recent story is about Mark Bonn, the expert that many governments around the state use to justify public subsidies for sports stadiums for private teams.

Pransky’s story starts with this:

The state of Florida spends nearly as much money every year on professional sports stadiums as it does maintaining the state’s top tourist attraction, its beaches. However, 10Investigates found the author of so many economic impact reports that support public sports subsidies may not be the expert economist state leaders believe he is.

The resume of Mark Bonn, Ph.D., a professor at Florida State University’s Dedman School of Hospitality, boasts of dozens of reports compiled for municipalities all across Florida, including some statewide organizations.

Bonn’s side company, Bonn Marketing Inc., recently received $23,000 from just one study, commissioned by the Toronto Blue Jays and city of Dunedin to show the economic impact of spring training.

But 10Investigates uncovered emails suggesting Bonn encouraged the gaming of numbers to help justify a large public stadium renovation project. And several established economists call Bonn’s work deeply-flawed, resembling marketing propaganda more than an economic analysis; which may be appropriate, since Bonn’s background is in marketing, not economics.

To listen back to this interview from Wednesday, April 19 2017, click here.

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