Global Sport Institute Examines Tax Dollar Use and Community Benefit of U.S. Sports Stadiums

A new poll from GSI and OH Predictive Insights shows American public sentiment toward the presence of sports stadiums in a community.

Buffalo Bills stadium


How Do Americans View the Value of Sports Stadiums?

Global Sport Institute Examines Tax Dollar Use and Community Benefit of U.S. Sports Stadiums

TEMPE, Ariz. (June 20, 2022) - Global Sport Institute at Arizona State University recently shared results from a national survey done in partnership with OH Predictive Insights between April 15-26, 2022.  The survey discovered opinions regarding public financing of stadiums, whether constituents believe stadiums create local opportunities, and support for additional provisions tied to financing and support for franchises from a community.  The full results of the poll can be found on the Global Sport Institute website, with an accompanying Global Sport Matters story here.

Consistent with most academic findings, the poll found that Americans largely do not support public financing of sports stadiums, especially if that funding is derived from increased taxes. However, contrary to many studies, respondents to the poll believed stadiums do provide economic value to the community in which they reside. Respondents supported attaching strings to funding, including “clawback provisions” and directed set-asides. Respondents also supported various forms of retribution if a franchise that received public funding were to later be sold or relocated.

"While our latest poll shows Americans still largely do not support public subsidies to finance the construction and maintenance of pro sports teams’ facilities, they believe that the presence of a sports team brings economic and cultural benefits to a community,” said Casey Sechler, the associate director of research at the Global Sport Institute. “We also found support for clear provisions around public financing for these facilities. For example, there was a general consensus that there should be protections in place requiring team owners to repay a portion of public funds if they do not fulfill local economic impact promises. 

Sechler added, “What this tells us is that there is room for further education of the public on the economic realities of sports stadium construction, and that being more purposeful with how taxpayer dollars are used could go a long way toward strengthening the relationship between pro team franchises and local constituents."

Key Takeaways: 

    • Net support for public financing of stadiums was -32%. Those who did support public financing were more likely to support tax increases.

  • A plurality of urban respondents were against public financing of stadiums, but a larger majority (63%) of suburban respondents were against public financing.

  • There was relatively strong agreement with the notion that the presence of professional sports is an important part of the community’s economic health (67% nationwide), though less support that the presence of professional sports is a necessary cultural element in a community’s identity (59% nationwide). 

  • An 80% majority believed the presence of a sports team boosts a local economy.

  • Overall, only 20% of respondents were in support of higher taxes to pay for a portion of the facility, most demographics across the board disagreed with higher taxes with suburbanites, household sizes of 2 or less, and 55+ having the biggest issue.

  • Less than one-third were in support of public taxes such as sales, property, income, hotel, car rental, and food/beverage, but 49% were in support of lottery/gambling tax.

o   Although a majority were against higher taxes to support the facility, (47%) did say they support public funding for the construction and maintenance because their presence boosts the local economy and creates more jobs for residents, and (69%) the presence of professional sports in a community is an important part of economic health.

  • Sustainability standards, investment in affordable housing, and “clawback provisions” for refunds on public investment all had majority support nationwide, across political affiliations.

  • 64% of respondents supported the public or the local government receiving a portion of proceeds from the sale of a team if that team received public dollars to help build a stadium. 67% supported a payout to the public or local government if the team left the city.

  • When comparing the regions and cities most were closely aligned, but there are a few intriguing statistical outlieres in respondents’ perceptions in Seattle/Pacific and Boston/Atlantic.

o   Among those who supported public financing of stadiums in the Atlantic region, support for higher state taxes was -22%, but in Boston, support for higher state taxes among those who supported public financing was +9% and support for higher local taxes among those same respondents was +19%.

o  In Seattle, support for higher taxes for public stadium financing among urban respondents was +35% but among suburban respondents, support was -28%.

About Global Sport Institute

The Global Sport Institute is where diverse disciplines converge to thoughtfully examine critical issues impacting sport. As a cross-disciplinary enterprise, the institute’s efforts are integrated throughout the entire university — from engineering to sociology, to the athletic department and beyond — rather than within a single concentration. With an emphasis on expanding research, sharing knowledge, supporting innovation and advancing education, the institute’s mission is to use sport to create positive change throughout the world. Follow the Institute on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.



This poll was conducted as an online opt-in panel survey. The survey was completed by OH Predictive Insights from April 15th, 2022 – April 26th, 2022, from a national general population sample. The sample size of this survey was 2400 national general sample (including a 150 respondent oversample in Boston, Houston, North Carolina, Phoenix, Indianapolis, and Seattle), whose demographics were weighted to accurately reflect general population based on gender, region, age, ethnicity, and education-level, based on the most recent census data– the exact percentages can be found in the table below. The sample of 2400 registered voters yielded a MoE of ± 2%. *Numbers may not equal 100% due to rounding.

*Numbers may not equal 100% due to rounding.

Questions about methodology: Mike Noble, OH Predictive Insights,, (480) 313-1837 

About OH Predictive Insights: As a nonpartisan market research, predictive analytics, and public opinion polling firm,Phoenix-based OH Predictive Insightsprovides accurate polling, focus groups, data analytics, and advanced targeted marketing to political and non-political clients alike. With leading professionals in the advertising, communication, polling, and political arenas, OH Predictive Insights will service political and non-political clients looking to improve their footing on key stakeholders and consumers. For more information, please call 602-362-5694 orsubmit a request online.