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On our facebook conversation, someone suggested -

“Pay the players a little less. I know this will not be popular. But, alot of people take paycuts.”

Pro-sports players make a lot of money so I can understand her sentiment of hey, let them kick in some money! Some make more in one year than an average person would earn in their life time. But of all the pro sports, people have commented that the NFL is the league players can get beat-up and injured the most and the risk of their career being cut short is high.

Here are the average salaries per player per year for the 2010-11 seasons; number of players in each league and amount of money they make for each game played:

  1. NBA, $5.5 million (450 players, $61k per game)
  2. MLB $3.3 million (750 players, $20k per game)
  3. NFL $1.9 million (1,606 players, $119k per game)

Overall, NFL players get a 47% cut of total NFL revenues (4.6 billion of $9.7 billion) and apart from their salaries, a good size chunk is used for benefits, former players pensions and care etc…

For those curious to know what their favorate player is making see the following links:

  1. Cleveland Indians Player Salaries 2012-2013 – $74 million
  2. Cleveland Browns Player Salaries 2012-2013 – $69 million
  3. Cleveland Cavaliers Player Salaries 2012-2013 – $63 million

Team owners get 53% of Total NFL revenues, or $5.1 billion, and these owners are who the City, County and Gateway Econ. Dvlp. Corp have agreements with.

NFL TV/Media Revenue

The NFL negotiated most of their TV/Media contracts in 2011 for contracts that will expire this year.  For the new contract period 2014 – 2022 the NFL is expected to collect about $6 billion per year, or $187.5 million per year per team.  This represents a 173% increase in annual team TV/Media revenues from the 1998 – 2005 period.

To compare, here are the approximate figures for TV/Media revenue generated for the years beginning the time the new Cleveland Browns Stadium was opened (1999)

  • 1998 – 2005; $2.2 billion ($68.8 million per team)
  • 2006 – 2012; $3.1 billion ($96.9 million per team)

To be fair to the players, here is a cartoon depicting the NFL team owners money problems:

Jason Russell of the Civic Commons, in his piece “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”, suggests spreading the dirty deed of the sin tax and to, “extend the sin tax to all counties that touch Cuyahoga County”. He points out that the facilities draw spectators from the region so why shouldn’t the expense of the facilities be shared by the region?

What should we consider in terms of the 2015 expiration of the sin tax?

Currently the Browns have the best deal of the three teams.  The City’s responsible for the debt and financing for construction and capital repairs and they keep all of the revenue generated except some fees paid to the NFL and a share of NFL media revenue.

The Indians and Cavaliers renegotiated their leases with the Gateway Economic Development Corporation in 2004 so the teams cover the debt.  But, there are major capital repairs and improvements anticipated that are not covered under agreements.  The City is stuck with expenses for the parking lot.

The main considerations are what are the revenues needed by the teams to be successful and what payments can the City and County, and possibly the region afford?  So what are our options?

  1. Do nothing – the City of Cleveland will be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars for the debt, financing cost, capital repair requirements, and property taxes associated with the stadium and property.
    The Gateway Economic Development Corporation and Cuyahoga County will need to come up with funding for capital repairs and improvements that are being considered.  The debts for construction of the gateway facilities have been reported as being taken care of by rents from the teams that were renegotiated in 2004.  They include approximately $70 million for arena not including finance cost, with payments through 2023 and, a remaining $6 million in ballpark debt is anticipated to be paid-off by 2014.
  2. Ask voters to renew the sin-tax – Continue applying what is generally accepted as a regressive tax – has a greater impact on lower-income persons than higher.  The current sin taxes being levied for the sports facilities are:
    -  4.5 cents per pack of cigarettes;
    –  16.0 cents per gallon of beer, or 3 cents per 12 ounce bottle; and,
    –  12.7 cents per 740 ml bottle of wine
  3. Ask sports teams to pay more under their lease agreements – an unlikely scenario due to existing contract terms, although the Indians and Cavaliers renegotiate their lease terms in 2004.  Would the Browns be willing to do the same?  And, what about the capital expenses anticipated but not covered for the Gateway arena and ballpark?
  4. Increase the admission tax for all three sports teams – The City would have the authority to carry this out.  How much money would be needed?  The three teams and facilities have different needs in terms of the liabilities, costs and revenue requirements.  The Browns are reported to have one of the lowest seat pricings in the league.  Would they accept a higher admission tax on seats that would then limit their own ability to raise admission taxes?  And, what about premium, club seating and loge revenues?
  5. Better utilize revenue potential for City sponsored events – The City of Cleveland has the rights under the lease to use the Browns Stadium eight times per year.  What is the net-revenue potential for using all eight days, and how could the stadium be better utilized by the City?
  6. Other revenue generating resources – At the time the deals were made for the facilities there were increases to parking and rental car taxes.  The new Cleveland Convention Center and Medical Mart are being funded by a Cuyahoga County sales Tax  (.25 cents – another regressive tax).  Property taxes just took a hit in Cleveland via the CMSD (15 mill school levy).  What other sources are there?
  7. What am I missing?


Cleveland Browns Stadium gets new name as old sin tax expires in 2015
Call for increased private investment by sports teams to balance large public subsidies that will need to continue through 2028.  1.18.2013

Ed Morrison · Signing off

February 3rd, 2012

After a number of years of writing for BFD, I’ll be moving on.

My duties at Purdue are expanding, and I’ll be relocating to Purdue. With my colleagues from around the country, I’ll be building out a national network of colleges and universities to support regional innovation and the new discipline of Strategic Doing. You can read more here.

BFD has been an enjoyable platform for me to share my thoughts on economic development in Cleveland. Best wishes to you all.

In a major new report, the UN warns that the world is running out of time to make sure that there is enough food, water and energy to meet the needs of the world’s population. 

Governments need to make some major transformations in policy to move the globe to a sustainable development path. You can read more about the report here. For more background, you can visit the UN web site for the panel on global sustainability here

UN Sustainability Report Jan 2012.pdf Download this file

The Delta Institute in Chicago, which promotes building a “green economy” in the Great lakes region, released an interesting report last week. 

The study explores the market opportunities for clean technologies in the Greater Chicago market. You can read more about the event here, including an interview with one of the authors, Bob Weissbourd. 

Weissbroud is big on the idea of LED conversion. You can read more here.

The Chicago Region’s Green Economic Opportunities.pdf Download this file

On TV3 this evening, Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Thom Fladung, managing editor, squirmed like a worm on a hot brick over his firing of Tony Grossi as a beat writer for the Browns.

The PD is upset about what Grossi tweeted about Browns’ owner Randy Lerner.

Jim Donovan did a good job asking pointed questions of Fladung. Donovan compared Grossi’s mistake — for which Grossi has apologized — with the scathing comments by Brent Larkin. From Larkin’s column:

The Cleveland Browns (second edition) is the worst professional sports franchise in the city’s history….[F]or sustained ineptitude, this atrocious, Randy Lerner-owned Browns franchise has no peer….

Here’s background on what happened to Grossi: PD’s Tony Grossi Removed from Browns Beat After Twitter Remark About Randy Lerner

Look, I grew up with the Browns and used to travel to the games with PD’s sport editor, Gordon Cobbledick, who was our neighbor. My loyalty to the team runs deep based on those experiences.

What’s the big deal? Most many Browns fans agree, I suspect, with Larkin’s assessment: Never in Cleveland sports history have so many given so much to a team that gives back so little. So what if Grossi thinks Lerner is a bozo?

Flautung’s explanations of the PD’s actions were just not very understandable or credible. Flautung’s assertion that the Browns organization had no communication with the PD is, well, just hard to believe.

Unintended consequence for the PD: Seems to me that the editors once again damaged the brand. Here’s a paper that is losing circulation, where sports is about the only content that gives the paper a pulse.

The credibility of the paper — in the face of pressure from the Cleveland business community — has never been very strong, in my view. (I cancelled my subscription after the PD started publishing the Forest City blog.)

Now it’s even weaker.

My guess: The PD just drove their subscription numbers down.

Well played.

Update: In another long explanation of the PD’s action, Ted Diadiun, the “Plain Dealer’s reader representative” (really?), tries once again to justify the PD’s action. What the editors seem to be missing here is that the idea of “objectivity” is not the same for local sports journalism as news journalism.

With sports journalism, if people want objectivity, they go to statistics and box scores. People read sports news precisely because they want views and opinions. That’s the reason that great sports writers — Tom Boswell, John Feinstein, Frank DeFord — have all developed a strong, recognizable voice.

Grossi, as Diadium points out, “is a passionate guy with strong, honest opinions, who cares deeply about the team and its fans”. Precisely. These qualities are what made Grossi, well, Grossi. And made him valuable to the PD. He was a strong, recognizable sports writer covering a beat that people in this city care deeply about.

He had a voice. You did not necessarily agree with him. But that’s the point. His views sparked conversation. He had credibility, knowledge, and he helped make sense of what was going on. Sports is entertainment, not news. Local sports writing and news writing are different.

Conflating the two, as the PD editors have done, simply tells me that the management of this paper is worse off that I thought.

To get re-oriented to what really matters in today’s market, perhaps the editors should read this post from the student-run blog at Missouri School of Journalism: What’s the Point of Objectivity in Sports Journalism?

On Sunday, we are launching our week-log Strategic Doing certification course at Purdue. The first class — 23 economic and workforce development professionals — draws from Indiana. We are focused on making our 14 county region around Purdue a hot spot for intensive collaboration using the new strategy disciplines for open networks. 

Extending collaboration has been a focus at Purdue since former President Martin Jischke appointed Vic Lechtenberg to lead the effort. Purdue has launched Discovery Park, an expanded Purdue Technical Assistance Program, and the Purdue Center for Regional Development, among other initiatives. The process continues. Last week, Purdue announced a new Innovation and Commercialization Center

Strategic doing provides a disciplined framework for extending these collaborations, a kind of core technology to designing and managing complex collaborations in open, loosely connected networks. 

We are building a national network of universities committed to this new discipline. So, for example, Michigan State is using this discipline in its engagement activities and Arizona State has used strategic doing to design its initiatives to build a solar cluster in Arizona. Virginia Tech is collaborating with Purdue to incorporate strategic doing in a new executive education course on regional engagement, through its Engagement Academy. The Virginia Tech course — scheduled for May — is designed to help regional leaders link and leverage their university assets to strengthen competitiveness. 

The University of Akron is collaborating with Purdue, Michigan State, Arizona State and the University of Michigan, among others, to create a platform to explore federal policies to support extended collaboration among higher education, business, government, and non-profits. The discipline of strategic doing sits at the core of this new network focused on Transformative Regional Engagement

In the coming months, we’ll be announcing details of a national initiative to bring the disciplines of strategic doing to national scale. Michigan  StateThe University of Akron and Arizona State have been at the core of this effort.  

One of the important opportunities comes in transforming the Great Lakes economy, where we have the highest concentration of colleges and universities in the country. In an important paper, James Duderstadt, past president of the University of Michigan, has explored this core strength of the Great Lakes economy.  

In the most recent issue of Michigan State’s Engaged Scholar magazine,  I explore the possibilities and the practical dimensions of how we can build collaborations across organizational and political boundaries with a common strategic framework and a simple discipline to manage this complexity. 

A Master Plan for Higher Education.pdf Download this file

Strategic Doing Engaged ScholarWEB 2011.pdf Download this file

We started the transformation of Oklahoma City in 1993.

In an NPR interview, Mayor Corbett talked about how the transformation took place and how we built confidence with the voters.

Contrast how the Cuyahoga County Commission crammed down the Med Mart.

Big mistake.

The following posts are related to the proposed Municipal Solid Waste – to – Energy proposal, recently dubbed the CREG Center by the City of Cleveland municipal electric company, Cleveland Public Power.

White Paper on Waste Processing Technologies – highlights of risks associated with GASIFICATION as an emerging technology


Meeting the Future: Evaluating the Potential of WasteProcessing Technologies to Contribute to the SolidWaste Authority’s SystemSolid Waste Authority of Palm Beach County, Florida

Prepared by: Gershman, Brickner & Bratton, Inc. 8550 Arlington Blvd, Suite 304Fairfax, VA  22031September 2, 2009

Found an interesting and what appears to be a very useful report (Sept. 2009) that reviews waste management technology for the Palm Beach County FL.

Even though the information from this white paper was developed over 2-years ago, it marks the same time that Ivan Henderson, Commissioner of CPP lead the trip to Asia to explore emerging technologies (Aug. 2009).  Some of the information may have become slightly outdated, but nonetheless, the most interesting factoids and statements are presented below:

(See further excerpts and references to useful PowerPoint slides here)

Note: CPP has yet to explain how this project, that has been estimated to cost between $180 and $300 million, will be financed.

See full post here.


Sources of Information regarding the City of Cleveland CREG Center Proposal

Here are the major sources of information available on-line pertaining to the project:


CPP Announces meeting on gasification facility, provides no meaningful data on emissions

NOTICE – Cleveland Public Power has announced a meeting to be held regarding the proposed Gasification-Municipal Solid Waste-to Energy facility being proposed for the Ridge Road Transfer Station.  The meeting is scheduled to be held at the Estabrook Recreation Center, 4125 Fulton Road, at 6:00 pm, Thursday, January 23rd, 2012.

See the initial Public Hearing Announcement from the EPA for the one and only Public Comment Hearing held on January 9th.  NOTE that the City of Cleveland has requested from Ohio EPA a 30-day extension of the Official Public Comment Period from January to February 23rd.  See the original announcement for where and how to submit comment.The CPP statement, linked here, see specific text regarding emissions, is an insult to the process.  CPP has applied for an Air Permit to operate a gasification facility.  I find it incredulous that while their Draft Air Permit is being reviewed for public comment (closing 2/2012), that CPP cannot communicate clearly what the emissions are estimated to be; what they’ve actually stated within their permit application.

See full post here, for a listing of maximum annual emissions reported in the application and for information regarding Environmental Justice (EJ) issues and EPA’s Environmental Justice Policies.
NOTE:  CPP Credibility Issues:


    We have been hearing a lot about regional innovation clusters lately. The Obama administration, bolstered with policy work by Brookings and the Center for American Progress, have been integrating federal programs in an effort to promote these clusters. The Economic Development Administration has launched a new website designed to connect clusters and create a new type of “infrastructure” to support this strategy. At Purdue, we have done a lot of work developing interactive tools to identify and analyze clusters. You can check them out on our regional innovation web site

    Yet, when it comes to actually designing and launching regional innovation clusters — “activating” clusters — we are at a very early stages of developing a professional practice. We have just now started the work of developing protocols, disciplines and frameworks in order to make these practices replicable, scalable and sustainable.  

    We should not be discouraged that our work in activation lags our advances in analysis. Activating regional innovation clusters — designing and launching them — represents a formidable challenge. We need to integrate insights from large group intervention practices (like Appreciative InquiryOpen Space, the World Cafe and Asset-Based Community Development) with new strategy disciplines (Strategic Doing), lessons from open source software development, new tools (like social network analysis), and traditional financial, marketing and project management. While we’re at it, we need to throw in a few insights from the rapidly evolving field of complex adaptive systems (one of my favorite books on the topic — Managing the Unknowable — describes the fog in which we must operate). Is it any wonder that there are cynics in the grandstand? In truth, as a recent analysis out of Europe demonstrates, most cluster initiatives do not work very well.  

    This weak record of accomplishment does not mean that developing clusters is not a worthy policy. No, the path is just fraught with difficulties. 

    For the past year, I have been working on the Space Coast in Florida promoting the development of a clean energy cluster. That experience has helped me understand how we can use the disciplines of Strategic Doing to accelerate the development of regional innovation clusters.

    Here are some simple lessons. 

    The most effective approach to designing and launching regional innovation clusters is privately-led and publicly-supported, not the other way around. (When the public sector tries to lead cluster development, the result is usually a mess.) This principle carries significant implications for how initial meetings are structured and how conversations are framed and guided. 

    Company executives who initially engage in cluster development are impatient. We are dealing with tight time constraints, usually no more than 2 hours. Within that window of opportunity, we need to demonstrate the tangible value that can come from sharing non-proprietary information and building new collaborations from shared assets. 

    We can illustrate this point with that example from creative media cluster that is beginning to form in Shreveport, Louisiana. My colleague, Kim Mitchell, led an initial meeting of a new creative media cluster yesterday. He saw how government representatives and staff from economic development organizations can, without some guidance, take over  the conversation. They can quickly move it in a largely irrelevant, confusing direction. 

    By inserting himself into the conversation, Kim was able to steer the focus back to defining new market opportunities. In Florida, to deal with this problem, we adopted the practice of bi-furcating our meetings. In the first half, industry members sat around the table and support organizations observed. In the second half of the meeting, support organization representatives joined the conversation to address the agenda items outlined by the private sector representatives. 

    Here’s another lesson. Among the different collaborations that can arise, we want to select those that have a relatively large potential impact and that are relatively easy to do. As we demonstrated in the Arizona Solar Summit, we can use these two dimensions to select priorities quickly. 

    Finally, we need to work with a thirty day time horizon. If we cannot accomplish tangible progress in the thirty days after a meeting, no one will come to the next one. The good news in Shreveport: the founding members of the cluster agreed to come back together again in two weeks.