- No it won't. Maybe in an ordinary year it would put $350 million into the local economy, but, at the risk of stating the obvious, this isn't an ordinary year. Fewer people are going to show up for the race this year, and they're not going to stay as long, and they're not going to spend as much money. How much less is hard to say, but the $350 million number is just a fantasy right now.
- And it's not like cancelling the event would mean that the City loses all of that money. A lot of the money that would have been put into the NYC economy has already been put into the NYC economy. The post-race recovery bags have already been assembled; the water and Gatorade has been purchased; the signs have been printed. Yes, it sucks that money has been spent on stuff that may not get used (at least not for its intended purpose). That is a valid argument. But that is not the same thing as saying that the choice of whether to run the marathon is a choice between putting $350 million (or whatever really would have been spent) and $0 into the economy. The marginal cost of canceling is much smaller than that.
- I'm dubious, anyway, about the $350 million number. That's $7,446 per runner at a full 47,000 entrants. That figure can't be based on what contestants (and their entourages) are actually spending. So what does it include? Probably the value of advertising and sponsorships paid to the NYRR club that runs the marathon. Possibly the value of the advertising those entities get in return. The value of increased traffic for businesses along the marathon route, which is a dicey proposition now? The value of overtime paid to city workers providing security and cleanup? Without a breakdown of the costs, it's hard to figure out which parts of that supposed $350 million are (a) legitimate (b) local (c) funds injected into the economy that (d) wouldn't have been incurred this weekend for different purposes anyway.
Friday, November 2, 2012
WE RUN IN THE DARK, WE RUN IN THE DARK!: By now, if you care one bit about whether or not the New York City Marathon is on, off, or postponed, you are already well aware of all of the arguments about allocation of resources, optics, and resilience, and I won't reargue those. I just wanted to focus for a moment on the argument that running the Marathon will put $350 million into the local economy.
Posted by Isaac Spaceman at 4:35 PM