When NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was recently asked if he would prefer a franchise in Los Angeles or London, he replied, “I want both.”

A byproduct of NFL expansion is the renewed focus on stadium construction. Cities hoping to attract a franchise are building stadiums, while cities with struggling franchises are also building stadiums in the hopes of keeping their teams.

There is no doubt that newer NFL stadiums enrich game experiences for the fan. The most obvious example of this is Jerry Jones and the city of Arlington, Texas’ $1.2 billion, mammoth stadium, which features one of the largest HD TV screens in the world and more than 3,000 LCD displays throughout the luxury suites, hallways and concession areas. But while all of this is great for a fan at the game, stadiums have a far-reaching, negative impact on local communities.

Roger Noll, a Stanford economist who focuses on the economics of sports, has highlighted the problems that stadiums cause in their neighborhoods. In a Library of Economics and Liberty discussion in 2012, he called football stadiums “financial black holes.”

His argument is that well-run arenas that play host to basketball franchises, hockey teams, concerts and other events can be used between 250 and 300 nights a year. This frequent use provides some return on investment to both taxpayers and owners.

In contrast, football stadiums are almost certainly going to result in major losses for taxpayers, owners and local residents. NFL teams play only eight home games during the regular season, and as a result, any given stadium sits empty for a large part of the year. As Noll states, a football stadium “sucks the blood out of a neighborhood” and creates slums rather than promoting growth.

There is the promise of the creation of new jobs in markets such as concessions and maintenance, but stadiums generally have low maintenance costs and it is difficult to make a living as a concession stand employee for eight nights a year.

Additionally, another argument stadium proponents frequently espouse has become void in recent years: The construction of a stadium brings an influx of fans to the area, who then spend money at local shops. For instance, Noll notes that some stadiums have locally-run memorabilia shops or bars nearby that are filled with fans before and after a game.

But the case of locally run business benefitting from stadium construction is becoming extinct. New complexes are being built in suburban areas or in places enclosed by freeways rather than in the heart of cities. This keeps concession money within the bounds of the stadium. For instance, Los Angeles’ new stadium is going to be built in the suburbs, and New England, New York, Dallas and Washington have already built their stadiums in suburban areas, drawing business away from cities. These stadiums are surrounded by massive parking lots or highways, which are designed to keep fans in. Any positive spillover to local industry is a benefit that will eventually become obsolete with new stadium construction in the suburbs.

In sum, stadiums can be economically ruinous undertakings, and a city must weigh the costs and benefits of constructing one. If it is looking for an economic growth engine, a stadium is certainly not the right path.

But economics and numbers do not tell the whole story, and most stadiums are built to satisfy one huge special interest group: fans. Having a team from the most popular league in America, the NFL, will undoubtedly make locals happy and provide an important political and morale-boosting tool for municipal and state officials. The local governments’ contributions of tax dollars to the building of stadiums raises the issue of the misappropriation of public funds. But there is often surprisingly little backlash from constituents if their tax dollars go toward attracting a franchise, which exemplifies the human element presiding over traditional economic assumptions.

Stadiums also do not provide immediate revenue but instead revenue that must be continually earned as time progresses. For this reason, it is in the best interest of an ownership group to keep their its competitive so that fans will continue to buy merchandise and tickets. A good team means happy fans, so in some ways, stadium construction actually produces a better product on the field, due to better management.

A better football team doesn’t equal a healthier local economy. As more NFL stadiums are planned for construction, it is important that locals weigh the costs and benefits of a stadium outside the lens of blind fanaticism. TV screens above urinals may be a neat touch for eight Sundays per year, but the long-term health of the local economy should be what is really at the forefront of the hearts and minds of local politicians, NFL executives and fans.

Matt Castaldo is a junior in the College. Full Contact appears every Tuesday.

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