St. Louis SportsOnline
Dennis Coats and Brad Humphreys published "The Growth Effects of Sport Franchises, Stadia and Arenas" in mid 1998. Both authors hail from University of Maryland Baltimore County.
They posed two questions:
1. "Do the changes in the sports environment change the level of real per capita income in a metropolitan area?" Locally, would the average St Louisan make less or more money as an immediate result of building a new stadium for the Cardinals?
2. "Do changes in the sports environment affect the rate of growth of income in a metropolitan area?" Locally, would the average St. Louisan realize over the long haul a sustained increase in their wages?
Their answers were simple:
1. The level of real per capita income was affected by changes in the sports environment. In general, the effect was negative. In other words, the average St. Louisan would be expected to see a decrease in their wages.
2. The rate of growth of real income per capita is not affected by changes in the sports environment. In other words, St. Louis would be expected to see no benefit over the life of a new stadium.
3. Although economic growth would not be a result of changing the sports environment, the well-being of the community may increase. The average St. Louisan would feel better.
Coates and Humphreys studied 37 Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas (1969 to 1994).
They also contributed to debunk the notion that the sports environment significantly contributes to the famous "multiplier." They indicated that spending money at or around the ballpark does not get distributed around the city as much as the proponents of a new stadium would lead us to believe.
Only Seattle showed a significant positive effect of franchises and stadiums; results from all other cities were statistically significant and negative. Too bad the study ended prior to Seattle's loss of key franchise players, another variable for Coates and Humphreys' study.
In general, it costs $850 per person per year to have a baseball franchise in an average size stadium. The new Camden Yards fairs better than the average by costing Baltimore households only $14.70 per year.
Now I wonder what Lamping and the owners' economists will say.