Pro sports teams are important to Rochester’s economy and quality of life, but a number of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll do not think it is the city’s job to take on the financial difficulties some minor league teams are facing. Last fall, city officials described the Rochester Americans hockey team and Knighthawks indoor lacrosse team as insolvent.
Roughly 825 readers took part in the poll, conducted Feb. 4 and 5. Half the poll respondents consider pro sports teams very important to the economy, and nearly that many consider them very important to quality of life.
One-quarter of the respondents said, however, that they had not attended a local pro sports event in the last year.
The results showed a shift in opinions from last April, when the same questions were put to Daily Report readers. More than half of that poll’s respondents–51 percent–said local pro sports teams are very important to the Rochester economy. That percentage is down to 39 percent for this poll. And 61 percent said the pro sports franchises are very important to the area’s quality of life. Those numbers each saw more than 10 percent declines in the current poll.
In your opinion, how important are local pro sports teams to the Rochester economy?
39% Very important
19% Not very important
6% Not at all important
In your opinion, how important are local pro sports teams to Rochester’s quality of life?
50% Very important
15% Not very important
5% Not at all important
Due to rounding, some totals do not equal 100 percent.
Clearly, having pro sporting events in our city adds to the quality of life in Rochester, just as our varied cultural institutions and many festivals do. …That said, the private organizations that run the Amerks and Rhinos need to cut through the control/ownership issues and get their financial house in order … and do it quickly.
People will compare pro sports teams to other cultural amenities, but we must be very clear: Pro sports teams are privately owned, for-profit entities devoted solely to entertainment. Cultural venues, such as museums, theaters, performing groups, are generally non-profit and/or formed to include an educational component. One cannot equate the value of the two.
Our pro sports teams add a vibrant dimension to life in this community. They are events that bring together a socioeconomically, culturally, ethnically and geographically broad-based cross-section of people sitting side by side, shoulder to shoulder. …Our professional spectator sports are perhaps our most democratic institution–even more so here in Rochester than in other major metro areas since our teams’ tickets are so affordable and therefore so widely accessible.
–Jocelyn Goldberg-Schaible, president, Rochester Research Group
Local professional sports teams add to the allure and quality of life associated with Rochester. The combination of quality competitive professional sports with affordable pricing makes the Rochester area even more desirable than a major league sports venues for families and sports enthusiasts.
–Dan Zdunski, vice president and sales director, Erie Insurance Co.
In my opinion, well-managed local pro sports events add a great deal to the local economy through jobs and community philanthropic partnerships, as well as create community pride, help support family values and offer diversity in exposing people to all forms of entertainment. If any and all sports events offered the quality of the experience that the Rochester Red Wings front office and RCB Catering and Concessions do, we would have incredible choices!
–Pat Grover, vice president, Upstate New York chapter, Multiple Sclerosis
02/08/08 (C) Rochester Business Journal