Estimating the Fiscal Impact of Stadium Developments: Evaluating a Pro Forma Model

Public Finance Review, forthcoming

42 Pages Posted: 17 May 2023 Last revised: 24 Aug 2023

See all articles by Robert Baumann

Robert Baumann

College of the Holy Cross

John Charles Bradbury

Kennesaw State University

Date Written: May 9, 2023


Though researchers have demonstrated conclusively that sports stadiums are not economic development catalysts, stadium projects that include pre-planned ancillary developments have been proposed as a salutary strategy to overcome the widely observed dismal economic performance of standalone stadiums. Using an objective rubric for evaluating economic impact studies, we review a commissioned pro forma model that claims to demonstrate net positive fiscal impacts of two prominent publicly-financed stadium-anchored developments. Using reasonable assumptions informed by existing research and established discipline standards, the model estimates substantial negative returns for both projects (-$40 to -$60 million in Worcester, Massachusetts and -$100 to¬ -$200 million in Cobb County, Georgia). We find that the reported fiscal surpluses derive from chosen assumptions and not the stadiums’ complementary developments. We conclude that pro forma estimates do not provide credible forecasts of fiscal impacts, and ancillary developments do not improve the fiscal returns of stadium projects.

Keywords: local economic development, economic impact, sports stadiums

JEL Classification: R58, H71, L83, Z28

Suggested Citation

Baumann, Robert and Bradbury, John Charles, Estimating the Fiscal Impact of Stadium Developments: Evaluating a Pro Forma Model (May 9, 2023). Public Finance Review, forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Robert Baumann

College of the Holy Cross ( email )

1 College Street
Worcester, MA 01610-2395
United States

John Charles Bradbury (Contact Author)

Kennesaw State University ( email )

Dept. of Economics, Finance, and Quant. Analysis
560 Parliament Garden Way NW
Kennesaw, GA 30144
United States

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