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Not Your Arena?

When it comes to new sports venues, entrepreneurs may be on the outside looking in.

By Mark Henricks

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

For somebody just blocks away from a half-billion dollars'worth of civic improvements, Dan Bockrath doesn't show muchboosterism. "How it affects me is zero, zilch and nada,"says the 41-year-old co-owner of Cincinnati's CityBeat, analternative newspaper with 37 employees. "It" refers to apair of newly constructed stadiums for Cincinnati's baseballReds and football Bengals. His lack of enthusiasm fits with awell-established but widely ignored fact: Professional sportsfranchises and facilities do little for most localentrepreneurs.

Backers of new stadiums say they pump up local economies byencouraging tourism and employing local workers. Nationwide, morethan $12 billion has gone into more than 80 baseball, basketball,football and hockey facilities in the past 10 years. But numerousstudies show stadiums generally yield few benefits. "Localmedia benefit, as sports teams usually mean more valuableadvertising for newspapers and broadcast stations," saysMark Rosentraub,dean of the college of urban affairs at Cleveland State Universityand author of Major League Losers: The Real Costs of Sports andWho's Paying for It (Basic Books).

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