Economist: Building new stadium for Bucks could have downside

Economist: Building new stadium for Bucks could have downside

By Matt Montgomery. CREATED May 7, 2012 - UPDATED: May 7, 2012

MILWAUKEE- Bucks owner Herb Kohl has been discussing a new stadium for the team lately and a national economist gave some grimacing details into the economic impact of building a new sports arena.

Professor of economics at Smith College in Massachusetts, Andrew Zimbalist told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Wisconsin's Afternoon News that over the past forty years, there is little benefit in the construction of sports stadiums and arenas.

Zimbalist said the devil is in the details regarding the economic impact of building a new stadium.  According to Zimbalist, for the stadium to be a positive impact on the community -- there has to be a good financing and leasing stadium deal.  Additionally, the area used for a stadium shouldn't have a better use for the city in the long run.


Kohl has already come out and said publicly he would contribute "not an insignificant amount" to help build a new arena for his team.

According to the Journal Sentinel's Don Walker, "(To build) a new arena, (it costs) around $400 million or more, depending on how fancy you want to be."

In that case, there would be a need for taxpayer money for a new stadium.

Zimbalist noted that taxpayer-funded stadium idea is a trend around the league and says that if a new stadium would help the psychic, social and culture aspects of community, then there should be some taxpayer support.

However, taxpayers may not want to support that idea and Zimbalist argued the importance of a new stadium to a respective city is subjective.  He said it is really up to the community if they want to spend around $20-25 worth of tax dollars a year to support a new stadium, or if they would rather spend that money on schools, police or other public services.