Can New Orleans Play Its Way Past Katrina? The Role of Professional Sports in the Redevelopment of New Orleans
Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans in late August 2005, and debates are now underway across the country concerning strategies for reconstructing the City. Both of New Orleans’s professional sports teams, the National Football League Saints and the National Basketball Association Hornets, left the city in the wake of the storm, and the question of what the city should provide in the way of financial accommodation to encourage them to return should be considered in devising a reconstruction plan. New Orleans has hosted a disproportionate share of mega-sports events in the United States given its size and demographics. An important question concerns whether these events have contributed enough to the New Orleans economy to justify reinvestment in infrastructure to restore New Orleans’s place as a leading host of professional sports and mega-events in the United States. This paper examines the economic impact of professional sports on the New Orleans economy and concludes that the redevelopment efforts of New Orleans are better directed at first providing infrastructure that will encourage the return of its middle class citizenry and the restoration of its culture. Playing host to professional sports and mega-events does have symbolic significance, but it is arguable that the city cannot afford to invite guests until it has the means to accommodate them.
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- Robert A. Baade & Victor A. Matheson, 2001. "Home Run or Wild Pitch?," Journal of Sports Economics, The North American Association of Sports Economists, vol. 2(4), pages 307-327, November.
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