Which means more to CLE: LeBron or the RNC?

CLEVELAND -- Sources close to Cleveland's convention committee say the city's chances are better than 50/50 to be named the next Republican convention city.

The RNC is expected to make an announcement after a final conference call, scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Tuesday. LeBron James, now a free-agent considering a return to Cleveland, could announce a decision as early as Thursday.

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Each chance to choose Cleveland this week could be to your benefit.

"No other city in the country has been that success and the feedback we've gotten is that we've really gotten our act together here," said Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald, who is also running for governor in 2016.

Fitzgerald and other local officials first started championing the idea of hosting a political convention in 2011.

The last time Cleveland hosted a political convention was 1924. The prospect seems promising: more than 35,000 visitors expected, bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars. A study found an impact of $214 million directly to the Tampa area when it played host in 2012. Others say the job is not so lucrative.

"Some people are too quick to believe the hype of positivity in "Believe-land," said Jim Swift."At some point you need to consider the real world tradeoffs and I think some people who are pushing for a convention are eager to hide the fact of what happens when you actually get a convention."

Swift, Washington based journalist for The Weekly Standard, is also a Cleveland native with convention experience. He says there are tradeoffs: lots of traffic, protestors and the opportunity cost of shutting down a city for weeks, that often aren't subtracted from the projected profits. "It's a gamble. It's turning Cleveland or any other city into a casino for a two-week period and hoping that you can ride the river, get the flop card," he said. "Not a lot of cities have been able to make it work." LeBron James could have an instant impact if he chooses the Cavs. The NBA's most marketable player means sell-out crowds and televised games and their revenues, even playoffs that would all bring cash to Cleveland.

His economic impact when he played for the Cavaliers until 2010 was calculated between $50 million and $80 million a year.

The odds of him choosing to come back to the Cavs seem to be building. In Vegas, bets have the Cavs as the 2015 NBA champs 12 to 1, down from 60-1 from a June 8 opening.

Which is better for the city in the long-run? Fitzgerald says a convention, which he believes would lead to more conventions and an updated national image of Cleveland.

"It's not just what one athlete decides, the fact that we're finalists for both conventions means Cleveland has arrived in a lot of ways, in terms of hosting these kinds of events. That's a big deal economically. For everybody in this county," said Fitzgerald.


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