Jul 5, 2010 1:35 PM by Matt Stafford

The LeBron effect, Cleveland worried about the loss off the court

Cleveland residents will be upset if LeBron James leaves the Cavaliers for another team. But could they end up poorer too?

The biggest NBA free agent up for grabs this year has given people a reason to go downtown at night ever since the Cavs drafted him in 2003. If James leaves Cleveland it could mean fewer fans in the stands and few people in a bustling bar and restaurant district near the arena.

The city's convention and visitors bureau says the Cavaliers' contribution to the city's economy is comparable to that of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Losing James could cut into that take, but some experts say if people don't spend their money on the Cavaliers they'll just spend it on something else.


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