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Looking for Economic Development? Skip the NFL and Go with Lollapalooza

One of the leading skeptics on the economic value of sports and entertainment investments has a caveat: music festivals just might be the ticket.
October 21, 2016, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Christian Bertrand

"Economists and public policy experts have been telling us for decades that sports stadiums are a terrible investment for governments to make with taxpayers’ money," according to an article by Alan Ehrenhalt.

Ehrenhalt picks up specifically, and in detail, on the arguments of Jonathan Wynn, who teaches sociology at the University of Massachusetts. Wynn "doesn’t stop at sports arenas," according to the article. "He goes on to argue that virtually all the public entertainment facilities that cities like to invest in -- art museums, aquariums, 'hall of fame' headquarters for this and that -- turn out to be unwise gambles with public money."

Wynn is willing to concede a way for cities to get enough economic development bang for the buck with at least one kind of marquee entertainment investment: music festivals. Examples like Lollapalooza in Chicago and the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas have proven ability to pump money into the local economy. 

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Published on Thursday, October 20, 2016 in Governing
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