Should Cities Be Ready for Some Football? Assessing the Social Benefits of Hosting an NFL Team

By Carlino, Gerald A.; Coulson, N. Edward | Business Review (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia), Summer 2004 | Go to article overview

Should Cities Be Ready for Some Football? Assessing the Social Benefits of Hosting an NFL Team


Carlino, Gerald A., Coulson, N. Edward, Business Review (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia)


Are the large public expenditures on new stadiums a good investment for cities? Does hosting a major sports team have benefits? Although public subsidies for professional sports teams are controversial, the answer to these questions may well be yes. In this article, Jerry Carlino and Ed Coulson report the results of their 2003 study: When quality-of-life benefits are included in the calculation, building new stadiums and hosting an NFL franchise may indeed be a good deal for cities and their residents.

Rapid population growth in many metropolitan areas in the United States has made them economically viable locations for professional sports franchises such as those of Major League Baseball (MLB) or the National Football League (NFL). But since all four of the major sports leagues tightly control both the creation of new franchises and the relocation of teams, cities' demand for teams far exceeds the supply. (1)

As a result, the price cities have to pay to get teams has gone up. Cities have offered favorable stadium deals in their efforts to retain or attract teams. Partly as a result of this fierce competition for teams, "America is in the midst of a sports stadium construction boom," as noted by Roger Noll and Andrew Zimbalist. Professional sports teams are demanding--and receiving--subsidies from local governments for the construction or restoration of sports stadiums. According to Raymond Keating, the total cost of 29 sports facilities that opened between 1999 and 2003 is expected to be around $9 billion. Keating found that taxpayers' money financed around $5.7 billion, or 64 percent, of this $9 billion.

The boom in stadium construction coupled with the increased public support for these facilities raises the question: "Are subsidies to sports teams a good investment for cities?" The answer has been controversial.

Often, subsidies are justified by claims that attracting or retaining sports teams more than pays for itself in increased local tax revenue by creating new jobs and more spending. More recently, local officials have come to view a downtown stadium project as an important part of the revitalization of the central city's urban core. Advocates of this approach point to Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Coors Field in Denver, and Camden Yards in Baltimore as models of how stadium-based development can work. However, independent studies by economists often indicate that taxpayers may not be getting such a good deal. Most studies that have attempted to quantify the creation of jobs, income, and tax revenue have found that the direct monetary impact fell by a city hosting a sports team is less than the sizable outlay of public funds. Yet civic leaders continue to make the case for professional sports and the beneficial role they play in the community.

Recently, economists have pointed out that previous studies missed a basic point: Professional sports teams add to residents' quality of life in cities that host teams. It's possible that people obtain benefits from having a local sports team even if they never go to a game. They root for the local athletes, look forward to reading about their success or failure in the newspaper, and share in the citywide joy when the home team wins a championship.

Economists have long studied the effects of an area's quality of life on wages and the cost of housing. Past studies have found that people are willing to pay indirectly for local amenities, such as good weather, scenic views, and nearness to the ocean, in the form of higher rents and lower wages. Similarly, if people benefit from having a professional sports franchise in their community, they are presumably willing to pay for it--if not directly through the purchase of tickets, then indirectly through an increased willingness both to pay more for housing in the area and to accept lower wages.

We did a study in 2003 in which we looked at the quality-of-life benefits residents receive in cities that host an NFL team. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Should Cities Be Ready for Some Football? Assessing the Social Benefits of Hosting an NFL Team
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.