The CFL and Halifax

on Oct 05 in Blogroll by

One of the great things about being a freelance writer is that you often get to write about things that interest you. (Contrary to popular belief, there are benefits to being a freelance writer.) My latest cover story for Halifax Magazine is a prime example of why I love what I do.

The story is about whether a CFL team would work in Halifax. Surprisingly, most (if not all) past articles that have been written about this topic have been emotional ones. These are the types of stories where somebody says, “Having a team in Halifax would make us a cooler city.” Well, that might be true, but will the operation be financially viable?

The answer to that question surprised me. I went into the story with a gut feeling that a team wouldn’t be successful here, but I walked away convinced it could be. Halifax has the population to support a team, adequate income levels and contrary to public perception, there are enough large corporate sponsors located here.

In the story, I kept it to the facts and looked simply at whether Halifax could support a team. I didn’t get into trying to argue why we should or should not have a team here. When one goes down the why route, the jobs argument usually gets trotted out, but there isn’t much truth to this argument. While there are some low-level paying jobs that would be created at the stadium, that’s pretty much it. Most of the income earned goes to player salaries and many players wouldn’t be living here outside of the playing season. Plus, there’s the profit that goes to the owners.

Generally speaking, people have only so many dollars to spend, so when they choose to spend money on sports, they are deciding not to use that money for another purpose. If we were talking about a CFL team here, that might mean people don’t go to a Mooseheads game, they might not go to the movies as often, etc.

There is actually a field of study which examines these issues and it’s called sports economics. One of the leading sports economists is a University of Alberta professor named Brad Humphreys. I wrote a story about being a sports economist for Metro last year. It’s something all sports fans should read.

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