The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

11 February 2008

Not quite a slam dunk just yet

The Chamber of Commerce and the office of the Mayor are pushing hard for that penny sales tax to finance Ford Center upgrades with the arrival of the NBA in mind, and they've put out a flyer to boast of how much of an economic impact the Hornets had [link to PDF file] during their two-year tenure here.

This paragraph has drawn fire:

That level of attendance generated an estimated $33,243,908 in direct spending [one year]. The assumptions being that 20% of the attendees are from out of town and would spend $200 while the remaining 80% of the attendees are local and would spend $35 per event. Non-resident attendees would account for $528,520 per game and resident attendees would account for $369,964 per game for a total of $898,484 in direct spending for each game.

Opponents counter:

20% of the attendees ... came from outside of OKC?
They spent $200 each when the average ticket price was under $30
These numbers appear to be grossly exaggerated.

I suspect the twenty-percent bit might be a tad high, but $200 seems plausible: you try booking a hotel room within a mile of the Ford Center on game night for under $100. And if I had had to drive all the way here from Somewhere Else, I wouldn't have bought the ten-buck billets up in the stratospheric heights of Loud City. Economic projections tend to have all manner of fudge factors applied, though, so I'm not taking the Chamber's numbers as gospel.

Were the opponents actually paying attention, they'd go after Sonics management's argument that moving the team would have no economic impact on Seattle. After all, nobody ever drove all the way to Seattle from Somewhere Else and ran up $200 in expenses, right?

Just the same, whatever extra I wind up spending in sales tax — I expect the measure to pass, and I plan to vote for it — will pale in comparison to the cost of my eventual season ticket.

Posted at 10:49 AM to Net Proceeds


Charles, the "Opponents counter..." link you include does not even originate from Oklahoma. Checking the web address and IP, it is located in Sunnyvale, California ... see these screen shots I just took ... http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a49/DougLoudenback/NBA/march4voteorganization.jpg and http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a49/DougLoudenback/NBA/march4voteorganization2.jpg from 2 different search vehicles.

"News" of that website broke in a Washington paper and none of the principals are identified by name. For the most part, it is a "class-based" place, "rich v. not rich." While there are reasonable arguments to make for those opposing the tax vote, that place doesn't give much credence to a "no" vote, in my opinion ... which is fine by me since I'll be voting "Hell YES" on March 4!

Posted by: Doug Dawg at 11:52 AM on 11 February 2008

Following up just a bit more, I did a "Who Is" search at Network Solutions ... after giving more detailed data similar to the above, it closed with this interesting piece of information ...

"The previous information has been obtained either directly from the registrant or a registrar of the domain name other than Network Solutions. Network Solutions, therefore, does not guarantee its accuracy or completeness.

Show underlying registry data for this record

IP Address: 216.39.62.127 (ARIN & RIPE IP search)
IP Location: US(UNITED STATES)-WASHINGTON-SEATTLE
DMOZ no listings
Y! Directory: see listings
Web Site Title: March 4 Vote.org
Data as of: 14-Jun-2005"

I don't understand about the "14-Jun_2005," but, as what's-his-name from an old TV show (Hogan's Heros?) said, "Verrrry interesting!"

Posted by: Doug Dawg at 12:57 PM on 11 February 2008

I noticed that, but I figured that the guy who did the design, such as it was, also registered the domain in question; it didn't seem necessary to suspect skullduggery.

Either way, they didn't do such a hot job of making their case.

Posted by: CGHill at 1:37 PM on 11 February 2008

20% of the attendees ... came from outside of OKC?

They don't happen to say how far outside of OKC, do they?

Posted by: McGehee at 9:19 PM on 11 February 2008

I figure anything outside the Consolidated Statistical Area (eight counties, 6359 square miles, population 1.25 million or thereabouts) is "outside."

Posted by: CGHill at 9:33 PM on 11 February 2008

Yeah, but you're sensible.

Posted by: McGehee at 7:09 AM on 12 February 2008

This afternoon, I've done a "Reverse DNS" search on the march4vote.org IP address ... guess what? Click this link for a cropped image showing the search result: http://i8.photobucket.com/albums/a49/DougLoudenback/NBA/march4voteorganization3.jpg

My blog post has been updated accordingly. Do you still see no smoking gun, Chaz?

Posted by: Doug Dawg at 5:58 PM on 12 February 2008

Right now, you're looking at 208.113.222.251. Brea, California — although one of the services you reported using will place it in Chantilly, Virginia.

Putting the worst possible spin on this, it would appear that someone from Seattle is attempting the ol' Astroturf maneuver, trying to create the impression of a grass-roots movement that doesn't actually exist. Given the complete and utter lack of local contact points on the sites, that would seem to have been perfectly obvious, at least to an old Web cynic like me who's kept an eye on Seattle and King County's tendency toward highly dubious politrickery in general.

Still, it never hurts to shine a little light on the crawlier creatures out there.

Posted by: CGHill at 8:11 PM on 12 February 2008