XL Is Not So Big

February 13, 2006
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The Anderson Economic Growth, author of critical reports of casino projects in Wayland and New Buffalo, the SBT and companies like Delphi and GM, along with studies in support of life sciences and telecommunication incumbents, has released an economic impact study of Super Bowl XL on the Detroit area.

Anderson's report pegs the impact at $49.3 million, far below the estimate of $302 million predicted in a 2004 study commissioned by the Super Bowl XL Host Committee. The new report projects direct benefit of $30.8 million from visitor spending, sponsorship revenue and a local share of ticket sales, including scalper profits. Indirect economic impact is projected to be $18.5 million.

  • More bad news for Detroit from a slightly less conservative source: Auto industry cheerleader David Cole, chairman of Ann Arbor's Center for Automotive Research, told AutoWeek last Tuesday that recent activism by dissident UAW members has effectively killed any chance of a Toyota plant in Michigan

"I believe we had a great shot at bringing a Toyota plant here," Cole told the magazine. "It's now off track. Indiana looks like the front-runner now."

And get this — Cole and his colleagues were convinced that Grand Rapids was Toyota's favorite Michigan site … until UAW dissidents made news in Detroit

"It didn't help having UAW dissidents picketing at the Detroit auto show this year while auto executives from around the world watched," Cole fumed. "The message was, 'Here's a union that can't control its own people.'"

Let's recap.

One of the nation's foremost auto industry experts says he is convinced that Toyota had chosen West Michigan for its new transmission and engine plant. A great fit, considering Mayor George Heartwell's recent State of the City address inviting socially responsible companies to the area, the extremely large crop of displaced furniture workers — no unions there — and the equally inviting soon-to-be-empty Steelcase facility in Grand Rapids, not to mention the rather massive empty Lear and X-Rite facilities.

But, this happy scenario was apparently squashed by union dissidents like the Gregg Shotwell-led group from Delphi Corp.'s local plants that protested last week's Michigan International Auto Show.

Cole said he will put in a good word for Michigan when he meets with Toyota management this week in New York. But he's pessimistic. He said he's already been quizzed about union attitudes by a senior Japanese Toyota official concerned about UAW comments vowing not to help U.S. companies work through financial troubles.

"Our union in Japan helps us solve problems," Cole quoted the Toyota official saying.

Gee, what a concept.

  • How cool is this? JohnZwarensteyn, CEO and publisher of Gemini Publications, is MichiganStateUniversity's "Businessperson of the Year." And he gets to share the honor with his brother, LodyZwarensteyn, president of Alliance for Health. The brothers Z were honored last Tuesday at a West Michigan MSU Alumni Club event in Grand Rapids

"You have played a significant role in the development of news and information services for your city, the region and the state," said MSU President LouAnnaSimon. "Please accept my heartiest congratulations."

  • The Bucks Stop Here — What does Grand Rapids have to do to get a successful professional basketball franchise to come to town?

Apparently, it needs to be the landmass 20,000 feet below a stratospheric ice storm. Near on Feb. 6, a plane carrying the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks made an unscheduled landing at GeraldR.FordInternationalAirport after one of the plane's engines developed an ice buildup, according to Associated Press reports.

The team was unable to determine if ice-cold, 38-percent field goal shooting in the night's loss to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers had anything to do with the malfunction.

  • GunLake Tribe lobbyist James Nye has left his post at Lansing-based Marketing Resource Group. He is now the official pubic relations representative of the Gun Lake Tribe.

What's the difference? Not much, unless you're MRG.

  • Joel Schultze, head of the DNA unit of the Michigan State Police crime lab in Grand Rapids, is under investigation by his former employer, the Chicago Police Department, for his role in an alleged frame-up.

In a bit of news that has local criminal appellate lawyers salivating, Schultze has been implicated in a case that led to Chicago reaching a $9 million settlement with a man who served more than 11 years in prison before being cleared.

According to an Associated Press report last week, documents exonerating Chicago's Lafonso Rollins were found in Schultze's East Grand Rapids home.

At the age of 17, Rollins was arrested for the 1993 sexual assault of an elderly woman in Chicago. He was found guilty and sentenced to 75 years in prison.

"He had papers in his basement that clearly showed this guy was not the individual who committed the crime," Rollins' lawyer, Robert Fioretti, said of Schultze.

The settlement was reached Jan. 27.

  • The West Michigan chapter of the American Marketing Association is hosting a networking event this Thursday at, of all places, Vasaio Life Spa.

At $20 ($12 for members), it's a great opportunity to meet marketing professionals, learn about AMA, and be pampered with massages, manicures and facials, or just relax with hors d'oeuvres and wine.

(This is where Street Talk would generally have a witty comment. Unfortunately, everything that came to mind pushed the boundaries of good taste.)

For more information, e-mail amawestmichigan@yahoo.com

  • As part of The Ad Club of West Michigan's Silver Medal Award ceremony, a small book of Ben-isms were distributed in honor of award recipient Ben Mendoza, creative director of Wolverine World Wide.

These include: "If it was easy, I'd do it myself!" "Don't even think about coming in on Sunday if you're not coming in Saturday," and "In this business, speed cost money. How fast do you want me to go?"    

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