IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The Edifice Complex: The Economics of Public Subsidization of Major League Baseball Facilities

Listed author(s):
  • Jahn K. Hakes


    (Albion College)

  • Christopher M. Clapp

    (University of Virginia)

Registered author(s):

    Using a panel of Major League Baseball team attendance data for the period 1950 to 2003, the authors determined that after controlling for team quality and other factors, a new modern era ballpark adds 22 to 30 percent to total attendance over a 10-year period and, on average, generated present-value stadium revenues of $272 million for the franchise. Since the construction costs for the group of 14 modern ballparks averaged $99 million in private money and $198 million in public funds, there were two results with important implications for public finance. First, the revenue estimates were less than the typical cost of most modern stadiums, indicating that the projects generated positive rents for team owners only due to public subsidization. Second, the ratio of recipient benefits to subsidy expenses indicated that public spending on construction of replacement stadiums was a less effective method for subsidizing franchise owners than direct lump-sum payments. Furthermore, the preference for stadiuproject subsidies over cash subsidies can not be explained by the desire of local officials to improve the quality-of-play of the team. Due to non-complementarity between new stadiums and team success, team profits are maximized when an owner “pockets” increases in revenue rather than reinvesting in the team’s level of on-field quality.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full-text download requires subscription from FIT.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Fitness Information Technology in its journal International Journal of Sport Finance.

    Volume (Year): 1 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 2 (May)
    Pages: 77-95

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:jsf:intjsf:v:1:y:2006:i:2:p:77-95
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Web:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:jsf:intjsf:v:1:y:2006:i:2:p:77-95. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Victor Matheson)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.