Or is it the other way around? El Paso was insulted and now injured? Doesn't really matter, I guess.
In attempt to apologize for someone else's mistake the City Council voted to hand over $500,000 in taxpayer dollars to a boxing promoter. El Paso is paying a guy to put on a fight. A fight he was already trying to pay for the privilege of putting on at the facility where the city wants him to have it. I know that's confusing, but that's how my brain sees it.
The Top Rank Boxing execs must be nearly exhausted with joy by now. First they get more international free press for the fight than they could have bought with Carlos Slim's check book. Then someone offers to pay them to hold the fight in the very place they were going to have to shell out a lot of cash to have the fight in the first place. It's been nothing but wheelbarrows of free money since they set foot in El Paso! Good for them. I'm glad someone is doing well in El Paso.
The City is giving this money in exchange for what amounts to advertising. One advertising executive in El Paso emailed me her thoughts on the what the actual value of the advertising is and it's south of $200,000 not counting the tickets. I was told the $25,000 in tickets deal could be structured several different ways and mean several different things.
1. It could mean that the City of El Paso has $25,000 worth of tickets to give away. That means they are worried about attendance already and need freebies to fill the place. However, without anyone making money on alcohol, a large crowd of people with free tickets doesn't offer any other chance at a profit and actually increases security costs.
2. The city has $25,000 worth of tickets to sell in order to recoup costs. The ticket agency would handle the marketing, and the negotiation of pricing these tickets to maximize possible profit. This is an unlikely scenario says my source, but not unheard of.
3. The $25,000 tickets will be sold in blocks to local businesses and nonprofits in what amounts to a "donation" toward relieving the city of some of the $500,000 they are out. This could be a situation where Western Refining buys 5,000 tickets from the city in a good will gesture that helps retire the debt and they get to send some people to the fight as a gift. Not the least likely scenario, but unlikely.
All of this money is flowing out in what is being slated as "spending $500,000 to generate $4.5 million." The $4.5 million dollar figure wasn't proven beyond being uttered by a guy who seems to be in the position to know these types of things. These economic impact numbers never ever come with a bit by bit breakdown of how they came up with the exact figure. That's mainly because it's bullshit run through a calculator and then spit out of the mouth of a PR consultant. You'll notice these "economic impact" figures only pop up when you're being asked to pony up tax dollars to support something you might not approve of supporting. You never see the "economic impact" numbers of a concert held at The Don when the local government isn't propping it up with tax dollars. It's just a concert when the city or county isn't involved.
The real problem is that El Paso's city government has showed the outside world how to work them over for half a million bucks. Want El Paso to pay you to have an event in El Paso? Announce you're holding an event in an El Paso venue that you have no signed contract with. Have a third party publicly announce they're blocking you from holding your event at the venue even though you've not even entered into contract negotiations. Watch city leaders lose their minds over the incident and wait for them to offer you the keys to the vault in exchange for doing what you were going to do in the first place. It's that easy.
The only good thing here is that the money is only going to the promoter if the fight takes place in the Sun Bowl. If the fight goes somewhere else, Eddie Holguin can demand the money be spent putting sidewalks and gutters in his district so children don't have to walk in the street on their way to school. And I'm not being funny there - Eddie's district has a severe need for street and drainage projects. I don't always agree with Eddie, but I have high regard for his willingness to go to the mat for his district.
The oddest thing about this whole debacle is that contract negotiations for the Sun Bowl have never really taken place. It makes a person wonder how serious the promoter is/was about having the event there if they hadn't iced the venue months ago. Ask Brian Kennedy what's going on at the County Coliseum on June 3, 2012 or September 23, 2012 and he can tell you - that's how events work. I find it really fishy that this "bout of the century" still has no home.
(I picked those dates out of thin air - nothing to them, so don't ask.)
We will see if the deal gets done. I know alcohol is the biggest factor holding up the contract at this point. I also know that the fight is now on the radar screen for Houston and San Antonio and they are apparently in contact with the promoter throwing major deals at him every hour or so. In the end money talks and BS walks. It's likely the $500,000 was thrown out there to keep the promoter off of the phone with the competition, but who knows how long that will last.
Who knows how eager Cigarroa is to deal now that he's been called every name in the book by El Paso. It's likely that his stance on the alcohol will be the real deal killer in the end.
Tickets are slated to go on sale on Saturday. Want to be on that?
Quick Note on El Paso Times' staff inability to write better than a third grader and the fact no editor looked at the article... I know I'm terrible, but I'm also not a journalist and my crap doesn't go to print... and I'm not paid.... and I went to public schools... and UTEP... and I'm left handed.
This sentence appeared in the story:
"The city's -- and elected officials' -- involvement to host the event in El Paso began after the University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa on Tuesday barred the fight on the UTEP campus because of security reasons."
There are so many things wrong here, it's just sad. Never in the English language can you put the three words "involvement to host" together like that. At least not in a way I can think of at the moment. I'm sure "involvement IN hosting" works much better there. My mind captures "involved" and puts it with "in" automatically. He was involved in a fight. His involvement in organized crime led to his murder. He is involving himself in something that's not his business.
The middle is bad, but technically works.
The end is atrocious. If you just want to change one word to fix that part you replace "reasons" with "concerns." If you want to use "reasons" you have to write "UTEP campus FOR security reasons."
What you have here is a non-native speaker trying their best to write in English while thinking in Spanish. An editor needs to be there to catch these things.
I forgive myself and Jaime because we're our own editors and we often don't catch our own mistakes because your own mind tends to jump over your own mistakes. Pump out a 1,000 words in roughly 15 minutes and hand it to someone to read - I bet you're worse than us when it comes to simple stupid mistakes.
Just so you know... the sentence should read:
The City of El Paso, along with a large group of local elected officials, became involved in hosting the event early last week when the University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa anounced that he would not allow the fight to take place at Sun Bowl due to unspecified security concerns.
And that sentence is way too long and tries to do way too much in the first place.