Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Why Anyone Thinks Fort Worth Sports Would Get America Talking

A couple days ago I mentioned seeing a trio of headlines, all in a row, on the front page of the online version of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, with those headlines, just those, before reading the articles, causing the eye rolling head shaking reaction one has when reading something which seems obviously goofy.

Those three headlines were...

This north Fort Worth neighborhood will soon be getting a brand-new liquor store

Consultant for Amazon HQ2 explains how Fort Worth missed out

Why Fort Worth hopes sports is the tourism ticket

We will be discussing that third article headline in detail, but first let's make mention of the other two.

A newspaper in a town with a population nearing a million, on its front page, touts a "brand-new" liquor store which a north Fort Worth neighborhood will be getting soon.

How is that not an embarrassing thing to write a news article about?

And that consultant explaining how Fort Worth missed out on Amazon HQ2. Well, despite the headline, the actual article is more about how the entire Dallas/Fort Worth area missed out.

It does not take any sort of consultant to explain why Fort Worth is unable, despite multiple attempts, to lure any corporation to relocate to Fort Worth.

We have pointed out multiple times that it does not look good for a town to have few streets with sidewalks, to not have modern public mass transit, to not have sufficient city parks, and with way too many of those parks sporting way too many outhouses, and few modern facilities.

And a modern America city, which gets HOT in summer, to not have multiple public city pools is just wrong.

It is also not appealing to any corporation looking to relocate for a town to be hosting the world's biggest experiment in urban gas fracking. Which is an experiment which has mostly failed.

And, in addition to all that, what does Fort Worth think a corporation re-locator thinks when visiting the north end of downtown to find a boarded up eyesore park supposedly celebrating Fort Worth's heritage, with that park's boarded up overlook looking over America's Biggest Boondoggle, a failed public works project which has long been mostly stalled in neutral, with three little bridges partially built, over dry land, for years?

And now on to that Why Fort Worth hopes sports is the tourism ticket article.

First off, this type verbiage is annoyingly dumb.

"Fort Worth hopes..."?

Really? How did the author of this article determine what Fort Worth is hoping?

Can you imagine a similar article headline in a town with a real newspaper?

Why New York City hopes sports is the tourism ticket? Why Austin hopes sports is the tourism ticket? Why Albuquerque hopes sports is the tourism ticket? Why Seattle hopes sports is the tourism ticket?

I've long made note of the fact that Fort Worth gets few tourists, and that there is really only one remotely unique tourist attraction in town, that being the Fort Worth Stockyards.

Let's take a look at why, according to this article, Fort Worth is hoping sports may be the town's tourism ticket.

The first three paragraphs...

Athletics are big business, and Fort Worth wants to grow its slice of the pie.

This weekend’s NCAA women’s gymnastics championship at the Fort Worth Convention Center was expected to bring more than $2 million to the local economy, but that’s a tiny piece of the market. Fans spend more than $10 billion annually traveling for sporting events.

Jason Sands, Visit Fort Worth’s director of sports, thinks the city can tap in to a large chunk of the growing sports tourism market, especially with the 14,000-seat Dickies Arena opening this fall.

Now there's a newsflash for you. Athletics is big business. And apparently Fort Worth, or someone in Fort Worth, wants a slice of that pie.

And, oh my, this weekend's gymnastics championship at Fort Worth's Convention Center is expected to bring more than $2 million to the local economy.

Wow! $2 million! I read that and instantly thought of Austin Powers and Dr. Evil, who, after being in a long coma, wakes up to make a $1 million ransom demand, with Dr. Evil not realizing one million bucks is no longer a HUGE amount. It is a game show prize.

So, Fort Worth has a director of sports who thinks Fort Worth's relatively puny new arena will be able to tap into that growing sports tourism market.

Who thought it was a good idea, marketing wise, to name this new arena "Dickies"? This will just give Fort Worth few tourists one more thing to giggle about.

And then the next paragraph...

The $540 million arena will play host to three years of the collegiate gymnastics finals as well as the first- and second-round games of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in 2022. Dickies will also host the American Athletic Conference men’s basketball championships from 2020 to 2022.

$540 million is a relatively small price tag for this relatively small arena in a relatively large big city. And some early round and low interest events have already been scheduled for Dickies? Does it not occur to anyone that major venues in major cities were likely not all that interested in hosting these events?

And then there is this gem...

Sporting events, like conventions, draw thousands from across the country and are Fort Worth’s chance to introduce itself to a national audience. Between those who visit and those who see Fort Worth locales on ESPN, sports can be the city’s introduction to tourists, Sands said.

So, now, in 2019, Fort Worth is ready to introduce itself to a national audience? Via sporting events? In Dickies Arena? Okay, so a tourist comes to see some sporting event in Fort Worth, thus introducing the town to the formerly not familiar tourist.

What does that tourist see when not watching those sporting events? A downtown with few hotels, no department stores, few restaurants for a downtown of a relatively large city, no downtown grocery stores. Molly the Trolley offering public transit between downtown, the Stockyards and the museums in the district devoted to culture. That tourist may also see that aforementioned Heritage Park eyesore which has been boarded up for a decade. Or take a look at America's Biggest Boondoggle, asking for an explanation for the odd forms stuck in the air trying to become a bridge.

That sport director we previously mentioned is then quoted with this gem...

“This stuff is immeasurable in terms of elevating Fort Worth in the national conversation,” Sands said.

So, this stuff is immeasurable in how it is able, or not able, to elevate Fort Worth in the national conversation?

Oh yes, I can see how being host to a few random sporting events well be boosting Fort Worth in the national conversation. People all over America will be talking about those Fort Worth gymnastic meets and basketball games, in addition to marveling at the town being host to America's Biggest Boondoggle.

And then a few more paragraphs of nonsense from that Fort Worth director of sports...

These events are just the beginning of Fort Worth as sports destination, Sands said.

He pointed to Omaha, Neb., which has made a name for itself hosting youth and college baseball tournaments as an example of Fort Worth’s ambitions, either with gymnastics or another sport.

“When you think of baseball you think Omaha,” Sands said. “That’s what we’re trying to build here.”

Oh my, these events are just the start of something big! The beginning of Fort Worth becoming an imaginary sports destination.

Like Omaha.

I had no idea that when I, along with the rest of the world, think of Omaha, we think of baseball.

So, that is what that Fort Worth director of sports is trying to build in Fort Worth.

Another Omaha.

I wonder if Omaha has any imaginary islands, bridges stuck over dry land, a downtown with few stores, city parks with world class outhouses, streets without sidewalks and river rocking inner tube parties in a polluted river

One would think that in its current form Fort Worth would not want to be being part of any sort of national conversation...

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