J. Bruce Miller Calls NBA Report Misleading and Challenges Its Accuracy

A local attorney who has spent over three decades advocating for an NBA team in Louisville is  dismissing a report that says the long-term benefits of a professional basketball team won’t suit Louisville.

The latest attempt to thwart effort to bring NBA to Louisville began last month when Boxcar PR distributed a report from Boston-based Cambridge Economic Research. The study was commissioned by a new group, Home Court Advantage, according to WHAS-11.

At its heart, the report shows an NBA team would only have a $2.4 million economic and fiscal impact annually.

From the report:

“This is about 1% of the level of benefits typically claimed by Economic Impact Studies supported by promoters of NBA franchises. For example, in 2010, the Memphis Chamber of Commerce issued a report claiming that the impact of the NBA Grizzlies is $223 million a year.”

But J. Bruce Miller says the report is misleading.

He says it only counts job creation and certain taxes in its final economic impact number, which doesn’t include any other consumer spending.

“The value of this report is nonexistent,” Miller said.

President of Sports Economics in California Dan Rascher is listed as a source in the report and he said the numbers do seem misleading.

The real economic impact is more likely around $50 to 70 million, which is what other professional sports markets regularly report in Rascher’s experience. Further, he tells WFPL in his previous 2004 study—which is cited in the Cambridge Economics Research report—Louisville was a top market to relocate an NBA team.

The study looked at the most viable cities to host an NBA team that didn’t already have a team. It considered population, income, the number of mid-size companies for potential sponsorships, said Rascher.

Another variable was sports competition, which has become a focal point for some who believe an NBA team will direct fans and money away from University of Louisville’s athletics, which Rascher says is a legitimate concern.

“Will the University of Louisville make a little bit less in revenue in terms of sponsorship or luxury suites or attendance, that’s possible. But the reality is as a community, the greater community would benefit by having more competition,” he said.

In a statement released after Miller’s press conference, Cambridge Economic Research says it stands by its report and says taxpayers would be on the hook to compete for an NBA team and having a team here wouldn’t be cost efficient.

Further, Boxcar PR says U of L athletics is the best tenet for the KFC Yum Center and an NBA team would endanger the college athletics culture.

Miller says the report is not likely to stop Louisville from pursuing an NBA option.

Devin Katayama

Devin Katayama host middays for WFPL and reports on education and other Louisville issues.

@DevinWFPL

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