By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — How does the business of sports affect Philadelphia’s economy?  That was the focus of a panel discussion this morning sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Senior Executive Group.

The panelists — Ken Shropshire of the Wharton School, Phillies‘ president David Montgomery, and Philadelphia Union CEO Nick Sakiewicz — agreed that it’s nearly impossible to accurately measure the value of wins and losses to the region’s economy.

But Montgomery said that before he looks at the bottom line, he first looks at how the Phillies are doing in the National League East.

“I absolutely look at the standings, because how we’re playing is a big portion of how appealing we are,” he said today.  “I’ve said many times, the fan support that we’ve recieved has come not only from on-field success, but identification and familiarity with our club.  And the third element of that, which is the one we have the most control over, is the fan experience at the ballpark.”

Montgomery says maintaining a competitive team is his biggest challenge now, because he says he owes it to the fans who fill the ballpark every night.