Tuesday, May 3, 2011

real estate Rorschach

I try keep this blog well-insulated from my all-abiding interest in baseball -- and compulsive obsession with the Los Angeles (nee Brooklyn) Dodgers -- but sometimes things are too good to keep to myself. Dave Zirin's Edge of Sports blog had an excellent take on MLB's repossession of the LA Dodgers last week that I devoured when it was written, and am only now getting around to sharing:
Two years ago, Michigan's then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm described automakers as "a healthcare provider that happened to make cars." For a generation now, baseball has been a highly leveraged real estate urban development plan in which men happen to play a game.
The unravelling of the Dodgers is equal parts delightful (as they deserve every misery they encounter west of the Rockies) and heartbreaking (if I had couple billion dollars, I'd spent it all on bringing them home).

But Zirin's insight is relevant to the theater industry, because it challenges our perspective on what, exactly, baseball is. One assumes that the incentive for owners is to sell as many tickets and official merchandise as possible -- but in the age of television advertising revenue, this isn't necessarily so. For theater practitioners, it's good to remember that the empty space we need to practice our art can look quite different if you flip the picture on its head -- and we must make sure to make a partnership with those who control space as appealing to them as possible. It's harder than ever to find affordable performance/rehearsal space, and that's a situation that's likely to get worse before it gets better.

The whole thing is worth a read.

 [Edge of Sports]

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