Growth Effects of Sports Franchises, Stadiums, and Arenas: 15 Years Later

Professional sports teams in a number of cities have successfully lobbied for and received new or updated sports stadiums and arenas over the last several decades, particularly during the 1990s. Advocates of such projects tend to claim that building new sports stadiums and attracting or retaining professional sports teams will boost the local economy. Previous academic studies have cast doubt on these claims, finding that the presence of a major sports franchise has no significant impact on the growth rate of per capita income in the area. There is still little evidence that building stadiums or arenas for professional sports franchises leads to significant economic benefits. Sports-initiated development is unlikely to make a community wealthier, and subsidizing professional sports teams may actually reduce economic growth. If a local government is considering adopting economic growth policies, there are far better candidates than subsidizing professional sports franchises.

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