Academic journal article Atlantic Economic Journal

Have Sports Venues Mitigated the Home Foreclosure Crisis?

Academic journal article Atlantic Economic Journal

Have Sports Venues Mitigated the Home Foreclosure Crisis?

Article excerpt

While many other people have already studied the impact of sports venues on local income and employment growth, this brief research note examines their impact on foreclosure rates in the county in which the venue is located. If these facilities are truly the catalysts for economic development on their periphery, as some have claimed, then foreclosure rates should be no higher, and possibly significantly lower, in counties with these venues compared to counties without them.

All but 10 of the 114 U.S. teams in the four major North American professional sports leagues (baseball's MLB (29 U.S. teams), basketball's NBA (29), ice hockey's NHL (24), and football's NFL (32)) are located in the 100 largest counties by population as of July 2009 [www.census.gov/popest/counties/CO-EST2009-07. html]. The 10 exceptions are located in 6 less populous counties: Saint Louis City County, MO (St. Louis Cardinals (MLB), St. Louis Blues (NHL), St. Louis Rams (NFL)), District of Columbia (Washington Nationals (MLB), Washington Wizards (NBA)), Orleans, LA (New Orleans Hornets (NBA), New Orleans Saints (NFL)), Arlington, VA (Washington Capitals (NHL)), Ramsey, MN (Minnesota Wild (NHL)), and Brown, WI (Green Bay Packers (NFL)). The zip code for each team's facility was used to find the county in which it is located [using www.naco.org]. There was at least one team from one of the four major sports leagues in 57 of the 106 counties. The counties were then divided into four Census regions: West (26 of the 106 total), Midwest (19), Northeast (26), and South (35). Foreclosure rates for each county were found by dividing the number of foreclosures as of the first week of June 2010 [www.realtytrac.com/mapsearch/] by the latest available estimates of owner-occupied housing units in each county [based on the 2006-2008 American Community Survey at www.factfinder.census.gov/]. Within each Census region, one can compare (using a two-sample t-test) the average foreclosure rate in counties with and without a professional baseball, basketball, ice hockey, or football team.

In the West Census region, the average foreclosure rate in counties with a sports team in any one of the four individual major sports leagues was lower than the average foreclosure rate in counties without a similarly described team. But, in no case were the differences statistically significant (MLB (p=. …

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