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The LeBron James effect on local businesses

lebron james

One of the best players in the NBA, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James, is also an extremely popular player in the United States and internationally. Due to James’ popularity, his Nike signature sneaker is one of the company’s best sellers and the same can be said of his Cavs jersey, which is always one of the most popular jerseys in the league every year.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, James’ popularity also has a positive impact on the local Cleveland economy. Because of James, local Cleveland businesses benefit from his mere presence on the Cavs as fans go to restaurants, bars and other establishments when they go to a game at Quicken Loans Arena.

From the American Enterprise Institute:

We find that Mr. James has a statistically and economically significant positive effect on both the number of restaurants and other eating and drinking establishments near the stadium where he is based, and on aggregate employment at those establishments.

Specifically, his presence increases the number of such establishments within one mile of the stadium by about 13%, and employment by about 23.5%. These effects are very local, in that they decay rapidly as one moves farther from the stadium.

“After Mr. James returned to the Cavaliers, the number of restaurants near the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland spiked, while the number of restaurants within a mile of the American Airlines Arena started to slide.

“Figure 2 shows some suggestive evidence on the mechanism underlying these patterns: there is a positive correlation between the number of regular-season wins won by the Cavaliers and the Heat and the number of restaurants located within one mile of the corresponding stadium.”

On and off the court, James is making a difference in Cleveland.

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