During the three years of the epidemic, many workers did not return to their jobs. Some never will.
The restaurants, bars and shops that housed these workers encountered difficulties. Some are permanently closed.
It’s a stretch, but the return of fans to Southern California stadiums and arenas has contributed to a slow recovery in the hospitality industry.
The nearly 10 million fans who watched the home games of the top 12 pro teams in Los Angeles and Orange County last year opened up new opportunities for chefs, bartenders, waiters, customer service professionals, and other occupations that require people ‘serve them: game and in the vicinity of the stop of the fans before and after the game.
“When the number of people who come to the area and support these services is not the same, the industry has completely changed,” said Shannon Sedgwick, director of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation’s Institute of Applied Economics (LACEDC). .
“That’s a little ray of hope.”
Of the 770,000 local jobs lost in the first two months of the pandemic, the hospitality sector was the hardest hit by the cuts, LACEDC said.
The sports industry had an estimated $ 7 billion economic impact last year, according to a LACEDC study released Wednesday. A study commissioned by the Los Angeles Athletic Council states that those 10 million fans “stimulate economic activity around home games”.
The sports industry makes up a relatively small part of the southern economy. By comparison, the life sciences industry had an economic impact of $ 44 billion in 2020, according to LACEDC.
High-profile sporting events are generally advertised as gold tickets for economic impact, although academic studies often find that the economic hype is exaggerated at best. Sedgwick said the study did not take into account the impact of this year’s Super Bowl at Sofia Stadium or the All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium.
With the national college football championship at Sophie Stadium in January, as well as the World Cup and Olympics on the way, Sedgwick noted that Southland can benefit from such special events, concerts and games without having to pay for the local government. . money. .
LACEDC President Stephen Chong said private funding makes sense for team owners in a market of 20 million people.
In other cities, governments often allocate taxpayer money to events, in part in hopes of attracting special events that could have an economic impact.
“I don’t think there is a universal answer,” Chung said. “It works for us, but it may not work for another city with a less diverse area. Other areas may depend on government dollars and it may not make sense. There is no easy way to know if building these stadiums. it will work all over town. “
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.