Citizens receive valuable benefits associated with a sports team in their area. For example, the success of the team directly relates to the injection of new spending in the local area by the fans that attend home games that come from outside the local area, (Horrow, 1997). Money is spent largely on hotels and restaurants, which attracts revenue that would normally be spent outside the local community. The largest portion of a National Football League (NFL) teams' revenue comes from national TV and then is spent in the local economy. The presence of stadiums also helps to revitalize the look and feel of the downtown area. For example, less than 10 years ago, tourists and residents avoided most of the downtown area of Cleveland. Today, it is a recreation destination with about five million people each year visiting the homes of baseball's Indians and basketball's Cavaliers(Maloney, 1996). Critics, however, often reject the need for public support for facilities. Economists of professional sports have tried to explain that having a sports team in a community actually does very little to enhance the local economy. The money that is currently spent on watching a sporting event would still be spent in the community, either at a theater, concert, or movie.
Not surprisingly, jobs that are created by the presence of a sports team are either temporary or part-time, which lessens direct economic impact. Concessions workers and event staff are only paid when the team is in town and even then the jobs are seasonal. Once the team is finished competing, the labor is no longer needed. Statistically, economists have found no relationship between economic growth and the presence of a sports team (Horrow, 1997). New stadiums are equipped with luxury suites, red carpet service and a fancy, corporate logo, abandoning the emotional attachment with relics such as Boston Garden, Chicago Stadium, old Comiskey Park, the Montreal Forum, and Tiger Stadium. Fans' loyalty to the team no longer has the same impact as it did with the history and memories enclosed in the old palaces.
Whether the benefits of stadium subsidies actually justify their cost is not a matter of theory. Studies have shown that new sports facilities have an extremely small effect, if any, on overall economic activity and employment. The net effect of a stadium is beneficial only if it produces more value than another opportunity such as a new park, renovated historical structure, civic center or library (Bast, 1998). In most cases, the net benefit for local communities has been minimal.