Fiscal 2023 DIF Account

Is a Stadium a Wise Use of Public Funds? Q&A with Econ Prof. Fred Smith



Davidson College Link

Here is small part




Are stadiums effective engines of economic growth?
Simple answer: No. They don’t generate much net economic activity whatsoever. At best, they redirect economic activity from one part of the city, state or region to another. At worst, they utilize resources that are in high demand in other parts of the city (e.g. construction workers) to work on a project that produces little in the way of net economic benefits. 




Are stadiums wise investments for cities to make?
I think there are very few—perhaps zero—examples of expenditures on sports stadiums being a good deal in raw economic terms. Some are worse than others. You’d be hard-pressed to find a single example of a situation where this sort of spending provides a positive return without including the water cooler effect.

What would be a better investment of public funds?
In a perfect world, I’d say that we should invest in something that makes workers more productive. Many economists are pretty negative about transportation spending (especially on rails), but I tend to think more highly of that type of spending. Something like rail lines might be a good idea.



We should have our hired gun, Zimbalist, update his pro-forma numbers based on where we stand today..