Does hosting a professional sports team benefit the local community? Evidence from property assessments

John Charles Bradbury, Kennesaw State University


Local governments often justify subsidizing sports stadiums as economic development projects that have positive returns on investment. If this is true, economic and quality-of-life spillovers that are capitalized in local property values ought to generate additional tax revenue for host municipalities through increased property assessments. This analysis uses the synthetic control method to estimate the effect of a new publicly-funded professional baseball stadium and team relocation on property assessments in Cobb County, Georgia. Cobb assessment values did not increase relative to other metro-Atlanta counties following the stadiums’ announcement or opening, which is inconsistent with the stadium having a positive fiscal impact, even with its desirable location and accompanying mixed-used development. The findings are consistent with past economic studies and are likely generalizable to other stadium projects.