THE CENTER FOR SPORT & POLICY

The Center on Sport and Policy was created to work with cities and teams to design strategies and plans to anchor urban revitalization efforts to sports venues. Our work responds to the challenge to produce tangible financial returns to the public sector, teams, and the private sector from the large investments made in arenas, ballparks, stadiums, and other entertainment and cultural centers.


For decades analysts warned public leaders that the use of tax dollars to pay for the building of venues used by professional sports teams produced dubious economic benefits; numerous studies found public investments in arenas, ballparks, and stadiums did little or nothing to change regional economic activities. Our work has shown that, under the right conditions and when supported by relevant data, deals can be negotiated to benefit both the public and private sectors.


The idea that a venue that attracts a million or more visits each year can change the location of economic activity within a region and anchor enhanced development is rooted in the work of urban economists and the founding principles of economics. The value of a revitalized urban neighborhood anchored by the large number of visitors to a sports venue lies in capturing for the public sector the taxes generated by the relocation of economic activity.

WHY YOU WON’T HEAR CITY COUNCIL USE THE ‘A WORD’ IN NEW ARENA TALKS JANUARY 31, 2019

Mark Rosentraub, a sport management professor at the University of Michigan who has consulted with Calgary on the current plan, said creating a multi-purpose venue that does more than host sports events is essential to making it financially viable. He said he sees Calgary taking the right path in positioning an arena as a way to change urban space — currently, the future event centre site is mostly parking lots and a bus barn that will have to be moved. “You try to connect the dots: you want to create a city that attracts the human capital that’s going to drive the city in the future,” Rosentraub said.