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N.C. Can Support Ball Team, But
Associated Press
Study Finds Triad Would 'Break Even'

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., Posted 5:50 p.m. April 30, 1998 -- A study by business students at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro finds that a major-league baseball team in the Triad region is economically viable but probably wouldn't produce the gains predicted by supporters.

Proponents say a new team would pump $744 million into the local economy during its first five years.

But the study released Wednesday says the economic benefits of baseball may be a wash when compared with the public tax money that must be invested. The study concludes that the public would see a net gain for its money because of the intangible benefits to the quality of life.

With only a few days left before residents of Forsyth and Guilford counties decide whether to approve new taxes and fees to help pay for a $210 million stadium, the students offered a qualified endorsement.

"Basically, the conclusion of our study was: Yes, but ...,"said student David Revak.

The 16 students -- most of them pursuing master's degrees -- are about as neutral a group as one can find, said Don Sowers, the group's faculty adviser.

Using conservative estimates, the students decided that people from outside the Triad would spend at least $13 million a year going to major-league baseball games here. Because local taxpayers would spend about $12 million a year paying off the bonds that would be used to build the stadium, the Triad would about "break even," Sowers said.

Because the study uses conservative estimates of attendance and spending, making baseball no worse than a "break even" situation, adding all of the quality-of-life benefits makes it a winning proposition, the study says.

Businessman Don Beaver heads a group that is trying to bring the Minnesota Twins to North Carolina.