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The Intangible Benefits of Sports Teams

Author: JEFFREY G. OWEN
Published in PFM, Vol. 6 No. 3

This paper conducts a contingent valuation survey of professional sports teams in Michigan and Minnesota. Two findings indicate that the consumption value of teams is quite important in explaining why some citizens continue to support public stadium funding. First, interest in the team is important in determining the value of willingness-to-pay. Second, while aggregate willingness-to-pay values are somewhat less than typical stadium subsidies, they are large enough to be considered an important factor in public funding for stadiums. The findings do not imply that cities should spend tax money on stadiums, but they suggest that the focus on economic impact misses the true source of value teams have for cities as public goods.

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