Over at The Sports Economist, Brad Humphreys, discusses the problems with the new Nationals baseball stadium in DC. I have been to a few Nationals game this year (including this one), but not any more than I would have if they still played in RFK. The Nationals attendance has increased a bit this year, but with a sub-par team the new stadium has had one of the smallest bumps in attendance from a new stadium. In short new major league baseball stadiums increase attendance by 2.5 million fans (based on estimates in a recently published paper), but with new stadiums costing 500-600 million the costs to tax payers out weight the benefits even before you account for people substituting ball park expenditures from other forms of entertainment.
Humphreys and Dennis Coates, have a great readable summary of the general view of economists that show that these stadiums don’t pay off in Econ journal watch.