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The Economic Impact of Sports Stadiums: Recasting the Analysis in Context

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Independent empirical analyses are often used to refute assertions that sports stadiums can serve as economic catalysts. Criticisms of recent stadium investments, however, are commonly based on studies conducted with data that it out of date. Current generation stadiums typically exhibit a different character and purpose than the multi‐use, utilitarian facilities built in the 1960s and 1970s. This study tests the importance of the new context within which stadiums are built by recasting a landmark study with current data. Nineteen metropolitan areas are included in a cross‐section time‐series analysis, representing every city that gained or lost an NFL or MLB team, or experienced a stadium construction for such a team between 1984 and 2001. These sports‐related variables are found to be positively correlated with regional income share for eight of the nineteen metropolitan areas. A closer look at the findings suggests that context matters.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Portland State University

Publication date: June 1, 2005

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