Magazine article Government Finance Review

Economic Development. (from the Library)

Magazine article Government Finance Review

Economic Development. (from the Library)

Article excerpt

"Winners and Losers in the Public Arena: The Economics of Professional Sports Stadiums"

Sachse, Jeffrey

La Follette Policy Report, Spring-Summer 2001, pp. 11-15

Of the 30 major league baseball stadiums standing today, 24 (80 percent) were at least partially funded by public dollars. One study estimates the total amount of public spending on these stadiums at approximately $3.1 billion. Despite a number of criticisms of public subsidization of stadiums, professional sports franchises and elected officials continue to justify such policies based on perceived economic benefits such as additional tax revenue and jobs. While the author does not dispute these benefits, he contends that their magnitude is almost always grossly exaggerated. In reality, sports franchises typically account for a very small proportion of the total economic output of the cities in which they reside. In Milwaukee, for example, the combined $188 million annual direct tax benefit from the Brewers and the Bucks accounts for only .42 percent of the area's economic output. The relatively small impact of professional sports on the local economy is even more pronounced in the context of the labor force. Although construction jobs pay well, they are temporary. And the majority of jobs associated with game-day operations are seasonal and low-paying. Using a 40-hour workweek as the measure of full-time employment, one study found that Coors Field in Denver created only 130 full-time jobs, while Miller Park in Milwaukee created only 60 new jobs. …

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