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The Economic Consequences of Professional Sports Strikes and Lockouts


  • Dennis Coates

    () (Department of Economics, University of Maryland Baltimore County)

  • Brad R. Humphreys

    (Department of Economics, University of Maryland Baltimore County)


The National Basketball Association (NBA) lockout of 1998–1999 resulted in the cancellation of a significant number of games. According to the claims made by proponents of sports-driven economic growth, cities with NBA franchises should experience significant negative economic losses from this work stoppage because of the lost spending in and around basketball arenas during this event. Although it will be several years before adequate data exist for a careful ex post evaluation of the effects of the lockout, an examination of the impact of past work stoppages in professional football and basketball can shed some light on the potential impact of the NBA lockout as well as the viability of professional sports as engines of economic growth in cities. The parameter estimates from a reduced-form empirical model of the determination of real per capita income in 37 Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas (SMSAs) over the period 1969–1996 suggest that prior work stoppages in professional football and baseball had no impact on the economies of cities with franchises. Further, the departure of professional basketball from cities had no impact on their economies in the following years. These results refute the idea that attracting professional sports franchises represents a viable economic development strategy.

Suggested Citation

  • Dennis Coates & Brad R. Humphreys, 2001. "The Economic Consequences of Professional Sports Strikes and Lockouts," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 737-747, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:67:3:y:2001:p:737-747

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    Cited by:

    1. Florian Hagn & Wolfgang Maennig, 2007. "Labour Market Effects of the 2006 Soccer World Cup in Germany," Working Papers 0716, International Association of Sports Economists;North American Association of Sports Economists.
    2. Dennis Coates & Brad R. Humphreys, 2008. "Do Economists Reach a Conclusion on Subsidies for Sports Franchises, Stadiums, and Mega-Events?," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 5(3), pages 294-315, September.
    3. Hagn, Florian & Maennig, Wolfgang, 2008. "Employment effects of the Football World Cup 1974 in Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 1062-1075, October.
    4. Dennis Coates & Craig A. Depken, II, 2008. "Do College Football Games Pay for Themselves? The Impact of College Football Games on Local Sales Tax Revenue," Working Papers 0802, International Association of Sports Economists;North American Association of Sports Economists.
    5. Philip K. Porter & Daniel M. Chin, 2012. "Economic Impact of Sports Events," Chapters,in: International Handbook on the Economics of Mega Sporting Events, chapter 15 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Coates, Dennis & Humphreys, Brad R., 2006. "Proximity benefits and voting on stadium and arena subsidies," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 285-299, March.
    7. Dennis Coates & Brad R. Humphreys, 2003. "Novelty Effects of New Facilities on Attendance at Professional Sporting Events," UMBC Economics Department Working Papers 03-101, UMBC Department of Economics.
    8. Feddersen, Arne & Maennig, Wolfgang, 2012. "Sectoral labour market effects of the 2006 FIFA World Cup," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 860-869.
    9. Rodriguez-Lara, Ismael, 2016. "Equity and bargaining power in ultimatum games," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 144-165.
    10. Pelnar, Gregory, 2007. "Antitrust Analysis of Sports Leagues," MPRA Paper 5382, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Agha, Nola & Rascher, Daniel, 2013. "When can economic impact be positive? Nine conditions that explain why smaller sports can have bigger impacts," MPRA Paper 48016, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Sarah Skinner, 2006. "Estimating the real growth effects of blockbuster art exhibits: A time series approach," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 30(2), pages 109-125, September.
    13. Robert Baade & Robert Baumann & Victor Matheson, 2006. "The Economic Consequences of Professional Sports Strikes and Lockouts: Revisited," Working Papers 0604, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics.
    14. Dennis Coates, 2007. "Stadiums And Arenas: Economic Development Or Economic Redistribution?," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(4), pages 565-577, October.
    15. Dennis Coates & Brad R. Humphreys, 2003. "The Effect of Professional Sports on the Earnings of Individuals: Evidence from Microeconomic Data," UMBC Economics Department Working Papers 03-104, UMBC Department of Economics.
    16. Victor Matheson & Kent Grote, 2007. "Gamblers' Love for Variety and Substitution among Lotto Games," Journal of Gambling Business and Economics, University of Buckingham Press, vol. 1(2), pages 85-99, June.
    17. Michael C. Davis & Christian M. End, 2011. "Team Success, Productivity and Economic Impact," Chapters,in: The Economics of Sport, Health and Happiness, chapter 7 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    18. Dennis Coates & Brad Humphreys, 2011. "The effect of professional sports on the earnings of individuals: evidence from microeconomic data," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(29), pages 4449-4459.
    19. Coates, Dennis & Humphreys, Brad R., 2003. "The effect of professional sports on earnings and employment in the services and retail sectors in US cities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 175-198, March.

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