The Texas economy is one of the most robust in the world. Wildly profitable companies and ingenious entrepreneurs call this state home, and what happens here influences businesses around the nation. Here’s a slice of the profits, losses, big deals, and backroom decisions happening across Tex
Settling the Scoreboard
With Reliant Stadium in the running for hosting the Super Bowl in 2017, the home of the Houston Texans may be in line for some major upgrades. The Houston Chronicle reported this week that the team’s owners are considering investing in a new high-definition scoreboard that could cost between $10 million and $30 million. The Texans would split that cost with Harris County and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which also uses the stadium, and the stakeholders could also pursue state funds for the project.
Reliant is the only NFL stadium without a digital scoreboard, but if the funding comes together, the new one could be in place by next season, according to Texans owner Bob McNair. Houston last hosted the Super Bowl in 2004 and bid for the 2009 and 2010 championships.
The Bottom Line: Houston has a lot to gain if the bid is successful. The Houston Business Journal reports that Indianapolis netted $152 million in direct spending associated with the 2012 Super Bowl. In 2011, the City of Arlington took in more than $200 million.
Environmentalists Trust the (D) in District 23
National environmental groups are throwing their support behind a southwest Texas Democrat who is challenging incumbent U.S. Rep. Francisco “Quico” Canseco, a Republican backed by several energy companies in the state. State Rep. Pete Gallego has received nearly $1 million from the League of Conservation Voters and nearly $200,000 from the Sierra Club in his bid for Canseco’s seat in 23rd Congressional District, which analysts have described as “the most competitive House race for a Texas incumbent,” Bloomberg News reports.
Canseco, a global-warming skeptic, has taken donations from “PACs representing San Antonio-based NuStar Energy LP and refiner Valero Energy Corp.,” as well as the prominent Republican fundraising group Koch Industries. Additionally, the National Republican Congressional Committee has contributed $1.6 million to Canseco’s campaign, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee gave $1.4 million to Gallego.
The Bottom Line: The 23rd District, which stretches between San Antonio and El Paso along the state’s southern border, is heavily dependent on the oil and gas industry, which makes the environmental aspect of the race particularly contentious. Bloomberg News reports that permits for 4,264 drill rigs have been granted in the district since 2008, and energy companies “invested $14.6 billion to drill last year alone.”
iPhone 5 Disappoints AT&T
AT&T had high hopes for the September launch of the iPhone 5, but its optimism did not pay off in the form of new customers. The Dallas-based company netted 151,000 new customers at its wireless stores from July through September — its lowest total for that period in nine years and far below Wall Street’s projection of about 350,000, Reuters reports. AT&T is blaming the disappointing figure on a shortage of iPhones at launch, which came in the final week of the fiscal quarter.
The Bottom Line: The AP points out that the iPhone scarcity “didn’t hold back Verizon Wireless,” which still managed to add 1.5 million net subscribers.
Winner of the Week: Neiman Marcus
Christmas came early for Neiman Marcus this week, as all 12 of the $354,000 sports cars listed in the Dallas retailer’s holiday catalog sold out two hours after they went on sale Wednesday. The special-edition McLaren 12C Spiders, which top out at 204 miles per hour, were the first sold in the U.S. The hefty price tag also includes first-class travel to the United Kingdom, a weekend at a five-star hotel, a tour of the McLaren Technology Center, and dinner with the company chairman, reports the Wall Street Journal.
Buyers who weren’t lucky enough to land one of the cars had several other intriguing options, including a $100,000 hen house, a $99,500 jetpack, and a $30,000 walk-on role in “Annie: The Musical.”
Loser of the Week: Clear Channel
Under pressure from advocacy groups nationwide, San Antonio-based Clear Channel announced Monday that it would remove 145 billboards bearing messages that, according to critics, were intended to intimidate minority voters. The company came under fire earlier this month for approving the ads, which were posted in predominantly minority neighborhoods in Milwaukee, Columbus and Cleveland, all of which are in battleground states for the November presidential election. The San Antonio Business Journal reports that the billboards, which depicted the words “Voter Fraud is a Felony! 3 1/2 YRS & $10,000 Fine,” were purchased by an anonymous buyer.