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The Economic Impact and Civic Pride of Sports Teams and Mega-Events: Do the Public and Professionals Agree?

September 22, 2015
By Peter A. Groothuis and Kurt W. Rotthoff

Often sports leagues, organizing committees, and team owners justify the use of public funds used to build sports stadiums by the perceived economic impacts and civic pride generated by the team or mega event.

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Often sports leagues, organizing committees, and team owners justify the use of public funds used to build sports stadiums by the perceived economic impacts and civic pride generated by the team or mega event. Since the 1980s, there have been many economic studies looking at the economic impact and civic pride created by professional sports teams. Most of the economic literature finds that there is little or no economic impact from sports teams or mega-events, however there are mixed findings on the magnitude of civic pride. Overall, most of the economic literature suggests that the benefits created by sports teams or events do not outweigh the cost of public subsidies provided. We perform a survey of public opinion on U.S resident’s perception of economic impacts and civic pride benefits from mega events such as the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics. Our study asks the question: Do residents believe that mega events and sports teams create economic impact and civic pride or not? We find that, like economists, the public is skeptical that public funding of mega events is a good idea.


 

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