Economists’ Statement on the Likely Impact of a Professional Soccer Stadium in the District of Columbia

Economic research on the impact of professional sports stadiums suggests that the proposal to provide between $150 million and $225 million in public funds to build a new professional soccer stadium in the District of Columbia likely will not generate notable economic or fiscal benefits for the city. Most studies find that new sports stadiums do not increase employment or incomes.  Some even find that stadiums have a modest negative effect on local economies.  The reason appears to be that sports stadiums do not increase overall entertainment spending but merely shift it from other entertainment venues to the stadium.

Research also suggests that a soccer stadium alone will not revitalize a neighborhood in DC.  Because sports stadiums are not used most of the year, they do not stimulate much development outside the stadium. 

A new soccer stadium cannot be expected to generate a net increase in economic activity in the Washington metropolitan area, but it may shift some entertainment spending from the Maryland and Virginia suburbs into the District.  Nevertheless, the economic benefits to the District are not likely to outweigh the large proposed stadium subsidy.  

In short, it is dubious to justify the use of public funds to subsidize construction of a new professional soccer stadium in Washington DC on economic development grounds.

Professor John Seigfried
Vanderbilt University
Professor David Berri
Southern Utah University
Professor Allen R. Sanderson
University of Chicago
Professor Stephen Shmanske
California State University, East Bay
Professor Raymond Sauer
Clemson University
Professor Daniel Marburger
Arkansas State University
Professor Brad R. Humphreys
University of Alberta
Professor Philip Miller
Minnesota State University, Mankato
Henry Aaron, Economist
Brookings Institution
Professor Donald Coffin
Indiana University Northwest
Professor Philip Porter
University of South Florida
Professor Zenon Zygmont
Western Oregon University
Professor Robert Baade
Lake Forest College
Professor Jeffrey Owen
Gustavus Adolphus College
Professor JC Bradbury
Kennesaw State University
Professor Frank Stevenson
Berry College
Professor Stephen J. K. Walters
Loyola College in Maryland
Professor Stacey Brook
University of Sioux Falls
Professor Michael Leeds
Temple University
Professor Bruce Johnson
Centre College
Professor Alexandre Olbrecht
Ramapo College
Professor Leo Kahane
California State University, East Bay 
Professor John Palmer
University of Western Ontario
Professor Kevin Quinn
St. Norbert’s College 
Professor John Solow
University of Iowa
Professor King Banaian
St. Cloud State Colleg