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No, every household does not spend average of $5K a year in the Twin Cities

No, every household does not spend average of $5K a year in the Twin Cities

The Post-Bulletin was ripped apart on social media Thursday morning for referencing unattributed research claiming that "every household in Rochester spends an average of $5,000 annually on entertainment in the Twin Cities."

The statistic was used in a story discussing the Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau's push to build a new arena on the site of the Mayo Civic Center. 

 
 

First off, as one user pointed out, stating that "every household in Rochester spends an average of $5,000" implies that researchers surveyed every household in the city. Let's just assume that's not true.

But that's an honest mistake and frankly not something that would motivate me to publicly question another media source's reporting.

So, getting beyond semantics, let's take a closer look at the research.

I sent an email this morning to Brad Jones, executive director of the RCVB, questioning where the statistic came from. He pointed me in the direction of some research done by Hammes, the company commissioned by the bureau to look at the feasibility of building a new arena in Rochester. Hammes also works closely with Mayo Clinic and DMC.

But here's the problem: The research suggests the average household spends $5,000 a year outside of Rochester — not specifically just in the Twin Cities.

 
 

As one commenter suggested on Facebook, was this statistic "dolled up to intentionally mislead people," or was it an honest mistake?

It's hard to say. But based on everything I've read and heard so far, it does feel like Hammes and the RCVB will say anything to convince us that building a new arena would be a wise public investment. 

For the record, Jones said he would take a closer look at the research and get back to me. I will publish his comments once he does.

In the meantime, here's a look back at my detailed comments from a few months back.


About Sean Baker: Sean is the founder and editor of the Med City Beat. Under his direction, the site has transitioned from a small news blog to one of the most widely-read publications in the city. Prior to launching the site in 2014, Sean spent about two years producing television news in Green Bay and Rochester. His office is above a brewery, so please excuse any typos. Twitter.


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