The Denver Post’s Andy Vuong demonstrates a common misconception in his article “Tebow is money out of the pocket.
The misconception is that increased sales in one particular segment of the economy is a boost to the entire economy. For example, Vuong cites the case of
… 20-year-old part-time college student Hector Armendariz, [for whom] Tebow has meant an extra $25 a day for the past three weeks through sales of T-shirts and hoodies featuring his likeness.
That is certainly good news for Hector, but it is completely irrelevant to the overall status of the Denver economy. That extra $25 is money that would have been used elsewhere if not on Hector’s merchandise. For (an admittedly over-simplistic, but still valid) example, Joe Customer has decided to buy a $25 t-shirt. Joe can spend the $25 at Spencer Gifts on a Chuck Norris t-shirt or buy a Tebow t-shirt from Hector. Either way, $25 is spent on a t-shirt. Why should we be happier for one t-shirt vendor over another?
The same principle applies to larger figures, as well:
Tom Clark, executive vice president of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp… said a home playoff game could add $5 million in spending in Denver, with some of it coming from visitors from outside the metro area because of the team’s regional appeal.
At least Clark distinguishes money spent by locals from money spent by visitors. The local contribution toward that $5 million would be in the Denver economy whether or not the Broncos have a home playoff game. The balance would still be in the region, to be spent on movie tickets, symphony tickets or maybe even a book or two.