SEATTLE - You've certainly heard the arguments, that public financing of professional sports stadiums is good for the local economy, that in order to be considered a major league city for business, that city has to have major league sports.
But if those arguments are true, can a major sports championship make those contentions even stronger?
The number of globally recognized brands founded or based in the Seattle metropolitan area includes some of the planet's biggest names. Boeing, Microsoft, Costco, Starbucks, Amazon. But you would be surprised at what most of the nation does not seem to realize. Those companies are in our backyard.
When Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post, I can't tell you how many people referred to Amazon as a Silicon Valley company, said Eric Schinfeld, Chief of Staff of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
For the time being The Chamber, has renamed itself the Seahawks Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. The lobby is decorated in Hawks colors, there's even a big bowl of Skittles on the reception desk. The connection isn't just based on the fact that the people who work at the Seattle chamber simply like NFL franchise. The Chamber likes that the Seahawks are raising the profile of the city and its surrounding area.
We've known from the Chamber side for a long time, that your global brand is so key to being able to attract businesses to the region, talented workers to the region, and investment. Said Schinfeld.
And Seattle really struggles with this because, we're out there in the Pacific Northwest in the very far corner of the country. So to have something that captivates not only the national attention, we know the NFL is a global game....captivates people from around the world to understand 'what is Seattle?' to think about Seattle, that has incredible economic benefits for years to come. He adds.
As a case in point, last week prior to the game, ESPN did some on-line polling that showed outside of Washington, Oregon and Alaska, the Denver Broncos were the popular favorite around the rest of the country, save for New England, still smarting from the loss of the Patriots to the Broncos in the AFC championship game. The question now, do the Champion Seahawks put the word Seattle onto more lips, into more media, meaning more exposure? The calls into the chamber seeking more information have increased over the last few weeks after the Hawks became destined for the Super Bowl.
Just in the last two weeks alone, emails, phone calls, media inquiries from all around the world. Said Schinfeld.
Flashback to 1997, as the future of the Seahawks in Seattle looked in doubt. Then owner Ken Behring was trying to move the team to California. Current owner Paul Allen optioned to buy the team if the legislature and then the public approved a path for public financing of what is now known as Century Link field. Now is the region enjoying the benefit of hundreds of millions in public investment through things like the hotel tax? Seattle of course, just one of many cities to build publicly financed stadiums across the country.
The studies show that it doesn't really pay off all the way. But I'm a big believer in human behavior when people feel good about something. Said professor Gareth Green, a professor of micro economics at Seattle University.
Green says when it comes to companies looking to relocate a corporate headquarters or build a factory, the presence of professional sports is a relatively small factor when compared to other business considerations as to whether a company can find an educated work force, and the state's tax structure. But Green also talks about the second paycheck, the benefit of having a major league team that aids in recruiting new employees.
We have some faculty here that are very excited about the football, that's really one of the things they really like about coming here. Said Green.