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Professional Sports Facilities, Franchises and Urban Economic Development

PFM, Vol. 3 No. 3, (2003)

Local political and community leaders and the owners of
professional sports teams frequently claim that professional sports
facilities and franchises are important engines of economic
development in urban areas. These structures and teams allegedly
contribute millions of dollars of net new spending annually and create
hundreds of new jobs, and provide justification for hundreds of
millions of dollars of public subsidies for the construction of many new
professional sports facilities in the United Sates over the past decade.
Despite these claims, economists have found no evidence of positive
economic impact of professional sports teams and facilities on urban
economies. We critically review the debate on the economic effects of
professional sports and their role as an engine of urban economic
redevelopment, with an emphasis on recent economic research.

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