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The business of sports

Editors: The controversies that crop up in the world of sports hit us where we live" in the pocketbook and in the conscience. Here is one of a series of tip sheets on University of Michigan researchers in sport management who can comment on a range of business and sport issues.

Despite the claims of team owners, professional sports arenas and stadiums don't always generate money for neighboring businesses, says Jack Vivian, director of the Sport Facilities Research Laboratory (SFRL) and assistant professor of kinesiology at the University of Michigan.

Arenas and stadiums that are entirely self-sufficient" that provide customers with a variety of restaurants, souvenir outlets and parking facilities" may not send customers off to nearby businesses, he explains. If the surrounding commercial district is at risk or failing, however, the construction of an arena that takes the needs of the nearby businesses into account may provide a new draw for customers area-wide.

"A well-run community sports facility, on the other hand, nearly always stimulates the neighborhood economy," Vivian says. Nearby sporting goods stores, family restaurants and gas stations benefit, while tournaments bring in money from outside the neighborhood.

Vivian, who oversees the management and marketing of the U-M's 8,000-seat Yost Ice Arena, teaches sport facilities management. Through SFRL and his consulting company, JRV Management Inc., he has advised more than 50 owners and architects on the feasibility, design, management and daily operations of new and renovated ice arenas, auditoriums, exhibition halls, and multi-purpose recreation and entertainment facilities.

The founder of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, Vivian also was a general manager for the Cleveland Crusaders and a scout and administrator for the New York Islanders hockey team.

Vivian can be reached at (313) 764-4599.