Tony: March Madness Propagates the Myth that Downtown Makes Money

Basketball is coming back to Downtown Kansas City this week and already there’s a wide-scale push to continue the urban legend otherwise known as The Downtown Renaissance.

Of course The Kansas City Star is content to report unquestioningly from PR copy but the figures just don’t add up. The underlying cultural logics of all the news stories celebrating the crowds coming to see the Big 12 reveals that Kansas City just wanted to bring white people back downtown no matter what the cost. And while this city is drowning in a sea of debt, there is no question (this week anyway) that the goal of bringing JoCo and other suburban sports fans back into the loop has been accomplished.

Still, a few years into all this subsidized construction it’s plain to see that a flock of sports dorks from The Golden Ghetto won’t save Kansas City. Not even close.

Again, Kansas City pays $20 million a year for the luxury of the mediocre music and generic style of the P&L District. And the Sprint Center revenue structure is so convoluted that advocates for the place can debate its value despite the fact that it puts yet another tax on local biz (car rentals) in the area. Nevertheless, to me the fact that even the most desperate of professional sports teams don’t want to move into the place signals that this town overpaid for the glass palace that stays empty most of the year.

Still, smiling faces (of white people) on Downtown streets create a nice illusion that obfuscates the depressing financial numbers as Kansas City lags behind the rest of the nation in understanding that paying the bills is far more important than subsidizing a good party.

Tony Botello
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7 Responses to Tony: March Madness Propagates the Myth that Downtown Makes Money

  1. Anonymous says:

    This quote doesn’t make sense, “Nevertheless, to me the fact that even the most desperate of professional sports teams don

  2. Anonymous says:

    While I don’t disagree that Kansas City loses money on downtown, you don’t do anything to show they don’t make their money back on their annual 20 million dollar investment. But then again, what can you expect from a blogger?

    Also, don’t be so hard on the old blue eyed devil. If your not careful you’ll hurt our feeling and we’ll up and leave. And why shouldn’t we? It’s cold here, and I heard some other cities are even by the beach! But if we did, this entire city would fall apart with its deteriorating tax base. You think the streets aren’t plowed now? Just wait until the city isn’t able to levy ANY tax dollars. Just pay it all out in welfare, a zoo of a school system and supporting downtown. Then what would you do without whitey to blame?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Gulliver Foyle, Jr.
    I find it fascinating that there will be no people of color at any of the basketball games, well, except the players. Tony says “smiling faces of white people”. Maybe he means that the people of color won’t be smiling.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The Sprint Center is this city’s worst bomb since the billion dollar school deseg case. Were going to have to pay for an arena that will house a pre season NHL or NBA games and the Big 12 tourny’s once ever 3 years.

    If by 2012 if KC still doesn’t have a NBA or NHL team, it never will. Then what after that?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Do you ever leave your moms basement and travel to other cities (major ones) and rent a car/hotel? These taxes are on everyone bill. It is a smart way to have others pay for stuff. Think of it like your welfare check, free money provided by others. If we had more rooms and car rentals the bill would be lower. Or maybe just maybe the economic plummet has something to do with the lack of store fronts???

  6. Anonymous says:

    Agree that Kansas City needs more a more profitable downtown but I like these attractions more than the parking lots they replaced.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Maybe Tony Craig Glazer was right, the money should have gone to mid town, Plaza/Westport. We again wasted it downtown, you are right, its a bust. Major bust. Guess Stan or Craig shoulda been mayor aferall.

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