The study — which looked exclusively at basketball-only and basketball-hockey multipurpose arenas — found “no statistically significant association between having an NBA arena or an NBA franchise” and city residents’ personal income, a standard indicator of economic growth.
In particular, cities with sports other than basketball (like Seattle, which has soccer, pro football, college football, women’s basketball, and baseball teams, and could get a hockey team under the proposed arena deal) were unlikely to benefit economically from new basketball arenas.
Even in cases where basketball arenas do correspond with higher regional incomes, public tax subsidies for arenas tend to erase those gains. And the more recently an arena was built, the worse its economic impact is on the population.
Study: Taxpayer-Backed NBA Arenas Don’t Help Local Economies