Detroit is getting ready to host the NFL draft a decade after going bankrupt

Detroit is getting ready to host the NFL draft a decade after going bankrupt
Pls share this post


Listen to this article
Jared Goff
Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff.

  • Detroit is set to host the NFL draft next month, a decade after it went bankrupt.
  • Mayor Mike Duggan told BI that he hopes the event will reintroduce the city to the rest of the US.
  • The Lions’ surprise playoff run has also boosted Detroit’s economy this year.

For much of the past half-century, Detroit has been a symbol of decline in the Midwest.

Its population has dramatically shrunk, unemployment and poverty rates have spiked, and upstart Japanese and Korean carmakers have seized market share from Ford and GM, which remain key to the economy of Michigan.

In July 2013, the city hit financial rock bottom when it became the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history after racking up debts of about $18 billion.

Just over a decade later, Detroit is getting ready to welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors for the 2024 NFL draft in late April — and mayor Mike Duggan sees the event as an opportunity to show how the city has changed.

“The last time the country paid attention to Detroit was 10 years ago when we were in bankruptcy,” he told Business Insider. “Those images of streetlights being out, police not showing up, and blighted communities have stuck in many people’s minds.”

“We see the draft as a chance to reintroduce Detroit to America and the world,” Duggan added.

Bankruptcy recovery

As Duggan notes, news coverage of the 2013 bankruptcy crisis showed the rest of the US how bad things were in the Motor City.

READ ALSO  The US wants to boost affordable housing by using billions in unspent COVID aid

Average police response times were up to an hour due to underfunding, Axios reported, while the mayor’s office estimates the unemployment rate was 20%.

Meanwhile, in a metaphor for the bleak economic outlook, two out of every five streetlights weren’t working when the city went bankrupt, the Detroit Free Press reported.

bankruptcy detroit
Graffiti in Detroit.

Detroit still has its fair share of financial issues — for example, the bankruptcy process led to massive pension cuts that have frustrated many recent retirees.

But the Chapter 9 filing also wiped out $7 billion of debt overnight — and the city’s finances have improved considerably under Duggan, who took office in January 2014.

Detroit finally paid off its creditors 12 months later and big real-estate investment projects, pension cuts, and high local tax rates have enabled it to balance its budget every year since then, helping the city to clear its debts and even accrue a $150 million rainy-day fund.

Law enforcement response times have dropped to just 12-and-a-half minutes on average, according to the city’s police department, while the unemployment rate was at 8%, as of January.

Officials were also able to fund a program to overhaul the city’s antiquated streetlight system and kick-start a downtown regeneration project that’s drawn praise from the World Economic Forum.

Mike Duggan
Detroit mayor Mike Duggan.

This week Moody’s, the ratings agency, upgraded Detroit’s municipal bonds to investment grade for the first time since 2009.

“It has been 10 years of hard choices and sound financial management … no one in 2014 would have predicted Detroit returning to investment grade in less than a decade,” Duggan said in a press release.

READ ALSO  Meta is suing a former exec it claims took a trove of 'highly sensitive' documents just before joining an AI startup

The new Detroit

April’s NFL draft — one of the biggest weekends on the sporting calendar — is set to bring eyeballs back to Detroit.

Hundreds of thousands of fans are expected to attend the event, with tens of millions watching on TV. Last year’s event in Kansas City is estimated to have boosted its economy by nearly $165 million, according to data from Visit KC.

Duggan told BI that the local Sports Commission bid for the 2024 draft was part of a conscious effort to show off downtown Detroit and show the city’s recovery since its near-catastrophic bankruptcy.

“Las Vegas and Kansas City created huge fan parks — but we’re doing something drastically different by putting the draft on the streets of Detroit,” he said. “There’ll be activities everywhere, and it’ll be the largest group of people we’ve had in the city over three days for years.”

Detroit
Downtown Detroit will host the 2024 NFL draft.

Local real-estate developer Bedrock Detroit has been central to the effort to renew the city’s downtown area, having invested heavily in renovation efforts.

Its founder Dan Gilbert, who’s perhaps better known as the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA franchise, is another local figure who’s excited about the draft.

“The NFL draft’s a big one,” he told BI. “You get fans from 31 other markets, plus the 50-plus million people who’ll be watching on TV. We’re hoping people come, just love Detroit, and go home and tell their friends and families about it.”

READ ALSO  A Trump reelection is the biggest threat to the economy because it would make inflation, debt, and growth worse, 'Dr. Doom' Nouriel Roubini says

Sporting success

Perhaps Detroit’s economic revival has coincided with a resurgence for the Lions.

The city’s NFL team has long been a symbol of futility, but last year quarterback Jared Goff and head coach Dan Campbell led the franchise to its first division title in three decades.

In the playoffs, Detroit beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Rams before losing to the San Francisco 49ers. The two home games generated spending worth $70 million for the city, according to data from Visit Detroit.

The Lions’ stadium Ford Field will also hold the Final Four of the NCAA College Basketball March Madness tournament, which both Duggan and Gilbert believe will give the city another meaningful financial boost.

Dan Campbell watches players warm up ahead of a game against the Los Angeles Rams.
Dan Campbell.

Duggan, who’s been a Lions fan for life, said the team’s run this year had helped underline Detroit’s post-bankruptcy recovery, giving residents a reason to be proud of the city again.

“I’m 65 years old, and the Lions had only won one playoff game in my lifetime,” he said. “To see them win two playoff games last year, it’s almost indescribable the psychological impact it had on the city.

“No matter where you went in southeastern Michigan, everyone was smiling and talking to each other about the Lions,” Duggan added. I don’t know how you put a dollar amount on that.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Source



Pls share this post
Previous articleThe effects of the fatal bridge collapse in Baltimore will be felt for months
Next articleTaylor Swift fan sues Delta Air Lines after being sexually assaulted by mechanic on flight