In the wake of some spectacularly bad stadium deals (Miami, we're looking at you), a growing backlash against public funding of sports stadiums has swept the U.S. But looking at the return on investment for such facilities misses the point, argues Malouff.
"Much of the debate [over the proposed stadium for the D.C. United professional soccer team] has focused on whether or not the deal will make DC any money," he notes. "But the fact that stadiums often lose money is largely irrelevant. So do museums, libraries, and opera houses. Stadiums fall into the same category."
"Smart communities try to squeeze some economic development out of stadium deals, because they may as well, but that's always a side benefit. At the end of the day it isn't the main reason cities build stadiums."