The majority of Americans have had an experience of attending professional sports events on arenas or at a stadium. It is extremely difficult to forget the masses converging on a frequently huge arena, ballpark, or stadium. An approach to these amenities is frequently a spin of patrons from various backgrounds, merchandising, fumes of the local food retailers and restaurants as well as patrons surrounding the stadium (Ahlfeldt and Maennig 630 ). Individuals attending these events come from different parts of the region, emerging from buses, parking lots, and trains emptying into the immediate stadium neighborhood. Being close to a professional sport or mega-event facility being just before the game leaves some doubt of the community vitality they are affecting. In this regard, this paper argues whether or not the construction of the stadium results in an urban renewal.
Ahlfeldt and Maennig (631) explore this idea of the urban renewal or redevelopment. It is a factor that has long been in the minds of urban planners and sports architects. It implies to the fact that it plays a crucial role in driving a site selection, and a design process of sports facility. The debate as to whether the development of sports facilities becomes more pertinent as several Americans in urban centers continue growing rapidly.
Urban Renewal Effect
The construction or presence of sports arenas and stadiums can play a significant role in defining a local and national image of a city and the areas around it. Accordingly, the construction of stadium has moved on forward at an unprecedented speed over the past two decades. In addition, in majority of cases, the sports venues themselves can assist in bolstering the revenues for the team (Allmers and Maennig 502). Moreover, in some cases, the development of stadia in urban areas can act as a catalyst for the renewal of close neighborhoods. Many stadium development projects can contribute to the economic renewal in three different ways. First, the projects stimulate a direct spending. Advocates of stadiums, such as Allmers and Maennig (501), have argued that the direct revenues originating from the construction of stadium and operations are more than the costs of maintenance and construction. Secondly, there are multiplier benefits and indirect effects. Finally, a cluster of innovation and activity has linked to a new stadium development project providing the city with a vibrant reputation. It is reliable for doing a business.
As the stadiums are planned and constructed, real estate developers, frequently in partnership with host cities, look at investing into cultural, commercial, and residential developments in the neighborhoods adjacent to proposed venues (Coates 560). As a result, the projects can result in a catalytic impact to the real estate development in the region in an immediate neighborhood (Coates 573). For instance, an urban success has been witnessed in Baltimore as the effects have been replicated in the cities such as Houston, Denver, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh. It has resulted in the collateral development. It has ultimately transformed the downtowns (Coates 575). As such, cities and urban centers have sought to attract these prospects for a new stadium and franchises in the hope for a wider national recognition and some degree of urban renewal (Lee 862).
Coates (575) has pointed out that the amount of revenues generated via professional sports has resulted in the environment of league expansion in the recent years. During the 20th century, professional sporting events have emerged as businesses (Dehring, Depken, and Ward 627). These events are capable of generating significant profits via a wide range of operations and media endeavors. In the article “Stadiums and Arenas: Economic Development or Economic Redistribution?” Coates (578) has also pointed out that sports franchises and facilities housing hem have gained a considerable importance over the bygone 20 years. The profitability, coupled with an increased coverage of the media, has made most of the franchises as assets to the cities hosting events. According to Coates (575), professional franchises have the capability of stimulating the national prominence of the city. They create a discrete identity of an urban center hosting an event. As a result, the development of new sports arena or stadium can set the speed for the success of professional sports franchise and urban renewal (Coates 575).
The construction of the new sports arena or stadium creates even greater opportunities, especially for downtown sports facilities and entertainment (Tu 379). In the recent years, venues for sports have proliferated in reaction to several factors. In some scenarios, including Denver’s Coors Field, Baltimore’s Camden Yards, and the MCI Center, these venues have been a part of the efforts of a municipal planner to revitalize downtown districts. According to (Tu 380), in his works titled “How Does a New Sports Stadium Affect Housing Values? The Case of FedEx Field,” when sports arenas and stadia are constructed, complementary businesses, such as retail and restaurants, are frequently attracted to an area. It is done in order to seize the opportunities presented by extremely large crowds on the events-day (Tu 379). In the areas, considered as blighted regions, such flooding of additional businesses and amenities can spur renovation and construction, increased revenue from taxes, and job creation. As a result, the construction or the presence of stadium in an area can result in the urban renewal and development.
According to Jones (846), stadiums and sports arena perform a crucial role in the life, play, and work equation. It frequently encourages the development of the play and work portions of life by providing pedestrian friendly connections to transit, vibrant nightlife surrounding the stadium, and frequent events (Jones 846). As a result, they provide the downtowns with a defined purpose to communicate connect and share great experiences (Jones 846).
However, because of a substantial price tag linked to the construction of the sports venues, there are ever-growing counter-arguments over how beneficial these facilities are. Especially it is for the communities they are intending to affect. As pointed out by Horne and Manzenreiter (192), the contention focuses on two important questions. The first one is who finances the stadium. And second one is how the stadium affects the aggregate economic welfare. Essentially, the contention over stadium economics seems to focus on income and job creation in the community, in which the facility is built. Nevertheless, a range of economic impacts is very wide, encompassing national and regional wealth as well as the economic welfare of fans and the distribution of income.
It is hard to describe perfectly and quantitatively the benefits of a project. According to Horne and Manzenreiter (190), there is no magic bullet evidence that the construction of stadia results in an economic and urban renewal. Horne and Manzenreiter (191) have asserted that even stadiums and arenas, which prove to be successful, have never been credited to a simple recipe or equation. The cases of success frequently involve an element of a good time. They often require the cooperation between private and public interests. Similarly to all large-scale developments, there seems to be no simple way of solving all problems or pleasing everyone in the community (Dehring, Depken and Ward 190).
As a result, cities and urban towns need to construct the stadia and sports arena as a solution for any lagging social or economic circumstances. Studies unfortunately indicate that there is the little evidence that a new stadium generates any substantial economic benefits beyond the initial development project (Dehring, Depken and Ward 192). The finances used in the construction frequently come at the expense of other entertainment options in the city and lead to a little or no net increase in the economic or job activity after construction. Regardless of claims of constructors that the stadia result in the urban renewal, stadiums and sports arenas have regularly failed to generate any significant sort of the urban renewal. Investigations of the two best-case circumstances (Gateway in Cleveland and Baltimore’s Camden Yard), which have utilized stadia for the neighborhood renewal indicate the following fact.
The cost per job created is extremely high. The neighborhoods have not improved economically faster than the surrounding areas (Dehring, Depken and Ward 191). The diagram below shows the following. According to Allmers and Maennig (508), the development projects of stadia and sports arenas are being marketed as the urban renewal. It comes attached with several bells and whistles in order to attract the attention of the public and gain the support. Americans should question the credibility of various levels of the government when it comes to some claims and following up on the popular additions. They are frequently added on the jumbo projects in order to make more palatable to the cynical public (Allmers and Maennig 500).
Allmers and Maennig (509) have pointed out that building new professional sports facilities with public finances in order to renew urban centers is not a new strategy. Individuals in favor of the public financing for such development projects argue on the following fact. The positive economic spinoffs and the new development taking place around the new facilities benefit all members of the community. As a result, the government should financially contribute to projects (Allmers and Maennig 500).
According to Dehring, Depken and Ward (630), the ultimate way of renewing urban centers is decreasing them. For many Americans, it implies getting more individuals to reside in a downtown and in surrounding neighborhoods. Some stadium proposals have included a reference to a residential component, though it seems questionable whether such a component is feasible (Dehring, Depken and Ward 630). The chances that the new stadium will ultimately hinder instead of promoting urban density and increased residential development are high. Noise, rowdy football fans, and heavy traffic inflows are likely to encourage an individual to buy a home far away from these facilities. Eventually, a building of a new sports arena and stadium is likely to hurt eventually the urban renewal (Thornley 813).
The provincial and federal government support for jumbo projects seems to be based on the claimed capability of the project to generate urban renewal (Dehring, Depken and Ward 630). Of course, it is a worthy course, especially for the places suffering from significant urban sprawl problems and low downtown residential rates. It is because of the poorly planned development (Allmers and Maennig 510). Nevertheless, it is questionable whether the spending of public finances on a new stadium economically renews the region, in which it is located.
According to Dehring, Depken, and Ward (630), the announcement of a possible stadium in an urban area, let alone the construction, has an effect of increasing the residential property values instead of renewing the region. The aforementioned authors have investigated an effect of a possible new sports venue by focusing on the NFL Dallas Cowboys’ search for a host city in the Dallas Fort-Worth area. The results have indicated that property values decreased throughout Dallas County due to the announcement (Dehring, Depken, and Ward 630). Surprisingly, the effects reversed when the arena bid was abandoned. Averagely, a decrease in property values was approximately 1.5 percent comparatively to the surrounding neighborhood before the construction of the stadium. In addition, Dehring, Depken, and Ward (630) have added that the decrease was almost equal to an expected burden of the sales tax. It has indicated that the average anticipated amenity impact of constructing a new sports arena or stadium is not significantly different from zero (Dehring, Depken and Ward 630).
According to Ahlfeldt and Maennig (12), professional sports and stadiums cause a compensating differential effect on income. Dehring, Depken and Ward (630) have cited that perhaps professional sports do not reduce directly a level of the real per capita income in a metropolitan area. Instead, Ahlfeldt’s and Maennig’s (23) results have indicated a compensating differential effect linked to the presence of the stadium in certain cities. According to Allmers and Maennig (627), the residents of such cities derive non- monetary benefits from the presence of the stadium.
They are willing to accept a lower income in return for living in these cities because of non-monetary benefits. It implies that an individual might decline taking a highly paid job in a city with no stadium and professional sports. This person may go for a low-paid job in the city with professional sports franchises (Dehring, Depken and Ward 630). The main determining factor is whether the value of non-monetary benefits is high enough. In general, the lower per capita income can be observed in urban centers with professional sports franchises since residents in such cities are willing to accept the low wages or salaries. It is in order to have an access to sports franchise (Dehring, Depken and Ward 630).
The way that jumbo-projects are structured is another reason why the construction of the stadium is not appropriate. Sports stadiums and arenas are often financed with long-term bonds. It implies that cities and urban centers will be stuck in debts for a long time, frequently 30 years. In addition, whereas the cities make commitments to finance stadiums for 30 years, their engagement to government employees and other local investments are frequently made on a year-to-year basis (Dehring, Depken and Ward 630). It implies that it becomes easier to eradicate the public sector programs and jobs than to default on debts incurred in developing stadiums.
The opponents of projects have claimed that stadia and sports do not generate any revenue. According to Dehring, Depken and Ward (630), the construction is local spending for hosting local events. The finances spent in and around the venue would likely to be spent somewhere else within the local economy in case there has been no event. This argument counters the proponents’ claim that stadia act as a source of revenue (Ahlfeldt and Maennig 627). However, it is hard to establish whether those ones attending an event are the persons from the local community. There are several factors involved, such as fanaticism and the teams participating in the events among others. Fanaticism causes individuals to travel long distances in order to witness their team progress.
Most of stadiums and arenas are frequently empty for a significant portion of the year. Considering the huge sums of money injected in their construction, stadia should have huge returns. A typical hockey arena is guaranteed for about 41 games yearly. For the remaining days, the stadiums must find conventions, concerts, or other events in order to fill in a schedule. According to Coates (187), constructing the new stadia is a waste of resources and taxpayers since they sit idly most of the time, especially during an off-season.
Based on the various sources analyzed above, this paper concludes that the construction of new stadia and sports arenas does not result in the urban renewal. The construction of stadia results in urban renewal in three significant ways. First, the projects stimulate a direct spending. Advocates of stadiums have argued that the direct revenues originating from the construction of stadiums and operations are more than the costs of maintenance and construction. Second, there are multiplier benefits and indirect effects. Finally, the cluster of innovation and activity linked to a new stadium’s development project provides a city with a vibrant reputation. It is reliable for doing a business. However, it is hard to define accurately and quantitatively the benefits of the project. Professional sports and stadiums cause a compensating differential effect on income. Sports stadiums and arenas are often financed with long-term bonds. The announcement of a possible stadium in an urban area, let alone the construction, has an effect of increasing the residential property values instead of renewing the region.