Friday, December 07, 2007

Not that it matters anymore, but...

The boys at the Sports Economist continue to poke holes in the arguments in favor of throwing tax dollars at pro teams:

Sports economists agree: sports stadiums are not the boon of economic development that they are often portrayed to be and, thankfully, public money has not been as easy to come by in many instances. That's why some recent public financing packages include plans to have ballpark villages developed as a part of an agreement for public financing. Otherwise the secondary development is not likely to happen.

The development is unlikely to occur because the returns for the development do not justify private investment. Otherwise we'd see a lot more "spontaneous" economic development surrounding stadiums. In other words, the people who frequent stadiums don't really care all that much about shopping/bars/restaurants/condos etc. around ballparks. They want to go to the event, do what they do there (get their private benefits), get in their cars, and go home. So politicians are seemingly more resistant, thankfully, to giving subsidies just for stadiums by themselves. But package in some secondary development (which, if it draws any extra economic activity to the site, will probably draw it from elsewhere in the region) with the subsidy request and see if you can get the necessary votes.

But if private financing isn't forthcoming for the housing and business development, is it really that good of an investment for the government? In other words, what are the public goods associated with the ballpark villages?

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Blogger Mark Rauterkus said...

How do we get the sports teams to buy the stadiums from the public authorities?

That's the ticket.

Put more high school games there is another option.

They can kick out the kids after they own the buildings / venues.

9:07 PM

Blogger Frank said...

The key here is that stadiums do not encourage spontaneous development, but that doesn't mean they can't be a bonus feature for planned development?

Just like many other things, stadiums probably have pros and cons when it comes to their role in development. Has anyone seen a comprehensive study of different stadium projects around the country? I'd be willing to bet that some of them have gone better than others, and that lessons can be gleaned from those successes.

The Blurgh

1:45 PM


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