Roger Noll of Stanford University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the economics of sports. Noll discusses the economic effects of stadium subsidies, the labour market for athletes, the business side of univeristy sports, competitive balance in sports leagues, safety in sports, performance-enhancing drugs, and how the role of sports in the lives of children has changed.
The interview begins with a discussion of the financial impact of sports stadiums. Noll makes the point that for a stadium to just break even it has to be used around 250-300 nights a year! This is something to keep in mind when you hear local councils arguing that their city should have a new sports stadium. Ask yourself, Will it be used 300 days a year?
The above comments refer to multiple-use stadiums. As for single use stadiums, rugby/cricket here in New Zealand, baseball/football in the U.S., Noll says,
Baseball and football stadiums, however--there aren't any that have been substantially subsidized where the local community has received anything remotely resembling a reasonable return on investment. They are financial black holes.