It’s a physics term, but strange action at a distance applies to economic development, as well. A recent example: the Kansas City Royals’ recent run to the World Series title in October 2015.
A Convergence Design team was in Salina, Kansas, on October 27 for an open house at the Bicentennial Center, an arena/convention center our firm had recently designed a major renovation for. We were going to grab some dinner before the trip back to Kansas City, and wanted to watch a couple innings of Game 1 of the World Series before hitting the road. We went to Speakeasy, a sports bar on the south side of Salina.
We could hardly get in the door. The place was packed, and all their televisions (they must have more than 50) were tuned to the World Series. We finally managed to shove two tables together so we could sit together, and got to see Alcides Escobar’s thrilling inside-the-park home run to lead off the first inning.
But this packed sports bar got us to thinking about economics and sports. This was a bar in Salina, Kansas, on a Tuesday night, a night when there might have been a dozen people having dinner and watching ESPN. Instead, the place was packed, and the game went 14 innings (we left much earlier, as we had a long drive ahead). I doubt that any economists are measuring the economic impact of the World Series on small cities 180 miles from Kansas City, but we can tell you from firsthand experience, it is substantial.
Strange action at a distance.