Edited by Wolfgang Maennig and Andrew Zimbalist
Philip K. Porter and Daniel M. Chin 1 INTRODUCTION In March 1997 sports economists Robert Baade, Philip Porter and Andrew Zimbalist offered testimony in the trial Poe v. Hillsborough County. At issue was the constitutionality of Hillsborough County, Tampa, Florida and the Tampa Sports Authority using their taxing power and credit to build a stadium for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.1 Florida law forbids government using either its taxing power or credit in support of private individuals unless such a project serves a ‘paramount public purpose’.2 The trial set the stage for a decade of research by economists into the claims of teams and sporting event sponsors. The National Football League (NFL) in conjunction with Hillsborough County and Tampa City offered testimony from two individuals: one reporting the annual economic impact on the community generated by the presence of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the other reporting on research conducted by the Arizona Office of Tourism and the Super Bowl Host Committee about the impact of the 1996 Super Bowl in Phoenix. Tampa was being offered a Super Bowl if they built a new stadium for the team. Zimbalist’s testimony set the stage, describing the NFL, how it obtained monopoly power and could force communities under threat of departure to subsidize team stadium costs. Baade testified that ‘professional sports teams generally have no significant impact on a metropolitan economy’ and ‘sports investments appear to be an economically unsound use of a community’s scarce financial resources’ (Baade, 1994). Porter testified that hosting...
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