Several studies have been conducted regarding the impact of professional sports franchises on urban communities. While many professional franchises in the U.S. have existed for decades and grown along with their surrounding communities, newly founded or transplanted teams can have a variety of economic, logistic and cultural impacts on cities.
A newly built stadium can provide significant economic growth for the communities that surround it. Consequently, some professional sports advocates justify public economic assistance for stadium construction, saying it is a civic investment. Economic growth spurred by professional sports franchises can manifest itself in a myriad of ways, including infrastructure development, and increased tourism, job creation and special events. A stadium built for a professional sports franchise can also be used as a centerpiece for hosting other events, from the Olympics to large-scale conventions.
Sports franchises can be boons for job growth in cities. Temporary jobs that come from stadium construction and the inherent transportation projects that ensue are often among the first positive impacts a new sports team's arrival can have on a city. Those influences extend to nearby businesses, such as restaurants and shops, that sprout as a result of a team's existence. Stadiums also typically employ several thousand people, including security personnel, vendors, food service workers and cleaning and maintenance crews.
Small Business Revitalization
Job creation is one of many positive economic impacts that can result in a city that has landed a professional sports franchise. New business creation is often a staple of new stadium development, particularly when it occurs in previously uninhabited, newly created commercial districts. Such businesses typically range from lodging and private parking facilities to bars, restaurants, merchandise shops and museums.
Their success on the field notwithstanding, sports franchises can boost civic pride by becoming focal points for community involvement. Today, the clubs in the four major American sports leagues routinely are involved in large scale charitable and community programs. They typically raise millions of dollars annually for area charities, hospitals and schools. Professional athletes are also capable of generating great interest—and raising money—when they attach their name to a civic cause.
- cleveland stadium image by Pix by Marti from Fotolia.com