Confronting the Problems of Professional Sports: A Public Policy Response to Franchise Relocation and Stadium Subsidization

Taylor F Brinkman


During the past decade, forty-six professional sports venues were constructed in the United States, while only 16 expansion teams were created by the major sports leagues. Nearly two thirds of these newly built stadiums and arenas were funded with public tax revenues, despite substantial evidence showing no positive economic impact of new sports stadium construction on local communities. In reviewing the economic literature, this article investigates the role of professional sports organizations in the construction and public subsidization of new sports venues. Franchise relocation and public stadium subsidization is a direct result of the monopoly power of professional sports leagues, whose franchise owners extract large subsidies from their host communities by threatening to relocate to viable alternative locations. After explaining how the most common methods of stadium subsidization project a disproportionate allocation of the benefits and costs of hosting a professional team to local community interests, this article outlines several considerations for local policymakers who seek to reinvigorate public discussion of equity concerns in professional sports finance.


Professional Sports Stadium Finance

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