by John Dankosky - A new professional football team is coming to Hartford. Several groups want to bring back the NHL Whalers.
And, there are even rumors about Major League Baseball in Connecticut. Really.
Yes, no less an expert than Hall of Fame Baseball writer Peter Gammons says that Southern Connecticut could be a new home for the troubled Tampa Bay Rays baseball team – trying to get a new stadium deal in Florida. As much as I love Mr. Gammons, I’m not sure where exactly this new team would play, or who would support it. The Bridgeport Bluefish, a team in the unaffiliated Atlantic League was dead last in league attendance last year.
Connecticut sports fans have been down this road before – remember the bizarre press conference where owner Bob Kraft and Governor John Rowland shook on a deal to move the New England Patriots to Hartford? That didn’t work out so well…
Despite the obvious problems, the idea of going “major league” is enough to get sports fans dreaming. Dreaming about a city filled with fans, spending loads of money on food and merchandise, and giving life to otherwise dull downtowns.
But when you take off the team hat and giant foam finger, you have to ask, is public investment in sports worth it?
Today, where we live, we’ll talk with sports economist Andrew Zimbalist about the business of sports – and whether now’s the time to be getting in on the game. And, author Mark Yost looks at how big time college sports aren’t always what they seem.
And, we’d like to hear from you – are big time sports a big deal in Connecticut? Is the state university basketball coach worth $1.6 million? Call us 860-275-7266 at 9 a.m. ET, leave a comment here, email email@example.com or tweet us @wherewelive.
In other sports news, word that Trinity College in Hartford has captured its 12th straight national title in squash (beating Yale 6-3) reminds us that not everything in the world of athletics is about money. Trinity’s unparalleled excellence is due to a coach, Paul Assaiante, who’s figured out a better system – intensely recruiting athletes from all over the world. Two years ago, Where We Live Senior Producer Catie Talarski profiled this international team for the BBC/PRI show The World. Among the rising stars she talked to then was Baset Chaudhry, now senior co-captain and star of the Trinity team. Congrats to a program that may be doing something that no other team, professional or college, has ever accomplished.