While the new [49ers] field [in Santa Clara] promises intangibles such as a national profile and civic pride, observers say it includes hidden costs, lost opportunities and unanswered questions, making it unclear how good a bargain it truly is.
“This is a very low price tag for the city, but it is not a good deal because they are passing up other things they could do there and vastly overplaying the value of non-football events [at the stadium], most of which are highly speculative,” said Roger Noll, a Stanford economist who has conducted exhaustive research on professional sports stadiums.
And from the Indianapolis Star:
“In this economy, to be honest, I think [the Indianapolis Colts‘] Lucas [Oil Stadium] is doing an amazing job,” said the University of Michigan’s Mark Rosentraub, an expert in the economics of sports. He recently wrote a book on how cities have used sports facilities as economic tools. “But that does not mean it’s not going to lose money.”…
Rosentraub said people need to keep in mind the big-picture reason behind the stadium and the deal to keep the Colts in Indianapolis.
“This was an investment in human capital,” he said, “to use the downtown as a linchpin to attract highly skilled workers for Eli Lilly, banks, insurance companies, the kinds of workers we will need in the 21st century.”