The Price of Spectacle and the Spectacle of Price

The Chicago Tribune thinks that its hard to justify all of the trouble that having the NFL Draft in the city will bring. I’m having a hard time getting in line with their thinking.

What the Tribune isn’t considering is the city’s attitude towards professional football. You can rumble around about the Cubs, the White Sox and the Bulls but when you bottom line it, this is a football town. You don’t have to spend much time here to understand that most of the city breaths it all year around. Sure most of us won’t get in to see the actual draft. But the event itself with the festival in Grant Park is going to be a spectacle that’s going to bring far more entertainment to the populace of the city than the annual Jazz Fest or Taste of Chicago.

Sure, you’ll get south side and west side officials complaining about the money spent here that could be spent on the cities poorer neighborhoods. Jessie Jackson is due to be on camera any day now. I get it.  It’s his job to use events like this to highlight such issues just as its the Tribune’s job to play watch dog – and thus to sell newspapers – by pointing out that the city isn’t going to come away scott-free from the deal.  I’m sure the media is about to be deluged with economist after economist who will question whether the city will get back what it puts in. But the truth is that relatively few people are going to care that much. Far fewer than there would be normally for any other event.

City officials were drooling all over themselves to bring the Olympics here, something that would have cost a great deal more money and trouble with a great deal more risk for lost government revenue. They did that despite the fact that the majority of city residents weren’t in favor of having it here. So how much more should they try to bring something here that the people actually want?

Leave a Reply