Friday, December 18, 2015

The Sports Factor, Gone Wrong

As previously noted, Rochester does not benefit from the free advertising which comes along with a major sports team.  To add insult to injury, it could be argued that the region's brand has actually suffered based upon mere proximity to an NFL team: the Buffalo Bills.

Buffalo, quite unfairly, is the posterchild for being reputationally challenged.  Rochester, being just one hour east, comes along for the ride.  The Bills cannot be said to have assisted in shaking this reputation. The franchise is best known for losing four consecutive Super Bowls.  (As a recent ESPN 30 for 30 notes, making four straight Super Bowls was a remarkable feat.  Unfortunately, the losses remain entrenched in sports conversation.)  More recently, the Bills have the longest playoff drought in all four major American professional sports.  Barring a minor miracle over the next three weeks, this drought does not appear to be ending anytime soon.  The Bills suboptimal performance has fueled Buffalo's suboptimal stature.  This rocky relationship has dwarfed the following features of a (hopefully) soon-to-be great-again city:

  • As per The Washington Post, Buffalo is considered a must-see among fans of great architecture.  Three of America's greatest architects, namely Louis Sullivan, H.H. Richardson, and Frank Lloyd Wright, had a hand in Buffalo's elegance.
  • In art circles, Buffalo's Albright-Knox Art Gallery is recognized as having one of the most significant collections of modern and contemporary art in North America.  Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, Henri Matisse, Paul Gauguin, Jackson Pollock, and Andy Warhol are a few of the names represented.
  • Buffalo's park and parkways system, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted (think Central Park in New York City), is recognized as one of the best urban green spaces in the world.
  • In 2007, Buffalo's Elmwood Village was recognized by the American Planning Association as one of 10 Great Neighborhoods in America.  This recognition placed Elmwood Village in the company of neighborhoods in Washington, DC; San Francisco, CA; Austin, TX; Brooklyn, NY; and Seattle, WA.

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