Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The convention boondoggle gets worse

i'm beginning to wonder whether in future years conventions will have a hard time finding host cities. before the DNC, boston projected that the convention would bring in $154 million. immediately after it ended, the city announced that the returns were a far more modest $14.8 million. on npr the other day they noted that the boston nummbers are still being revised downward and probably will result in a net loss for the host city. 
new york is only going to be worse. aside from the fact that everything is more expensive when you do it in new york, the extra security that comes with the heightened terrorism alerts, practically guarantees that this thing will be in the red when it's all over. plus, many people i know in new york (like people in boston last month) are not going to work this week, and many are leaving the city. the loss of productivity alone would be hard for even a high-profit convention to make up. it's not surprising that the new york city comptroller is projecting big losses
so what happens if four years from now the two political parties can't find a city that is willing to host their event? will political conventions break their big-city traditions and become more of a rural retreat? or will there always be a city ready to suck up the losses for the national exposure? when i lived in st. louis that city seemed to have a permanent chip on its shoulder about whether it is an important place or not. i would not be surprised if they bankrupted the city just to get a little national limelight. of course, if there is a terrorist attack in nyc this week, even st. louis might have second thoughts 
The extra costs of crowd control is probably making it even worse for host cities. If corporate sponsors stay away, local governments will get saddled with some of the extra costs. Plus if there is violence at the RNC in Cleveland this year, then the city of Cleveland won't get any positive national exposure.