An Examination of the Public Good Externalities of Professional Athletic Venues: Justifications for Public Financing?


  • Richard W. Schwester is an Assistant Professor, Department of Public Management, John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY), 445 West 59th Street, New York, NY 10019. His research interests include shared services, housing appreciation, and urban revitalization projects. He serves on the editorial boards of Public Performance and Management Review and the Journal of Public Management and Social Policy. He can be reached at


A review of the literature shows that stadiums and arenas are insignificant in terms of creating employment, engendering aggregate increases in local spending, and increasing per capita income levels. Public subsidies, then, may be better justified with reference to the nonpecuniary, public good externalities of professional athletic venues. This research examines whether the public good externalities of Baltimore's Oriole Park and Cleveland's Jacobs Field justify the use of taxpayer resources to finance such projects. This research finds that the public good externalities of Oriole Park and Jacobs Field are determinants of willingness to support the use of taxpayer resources to finance stadium projects.