Tax increment financing and major league venues

Robert Sroka*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
67 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: This article intends to shine a light on venue-related tax increment financing (TIF) through the first comprehensive inventory of its use at the major league level. 

Design/methodology/approach: For each 2018 venue in the five North American major leagues, data was collected on TIF contributions to direct venue capital costs as well as to projects using TIF to enable real estate development ancillary to a venue. Neighborhoods surrounding a venue were also assessed for the presence of a TIF district. With both the direct and ancillary elements, data was collected from government, industry, academic, mapping and media sources. A review of this data set and findings are followed by a discussion of implications and directions for future work. 

Findings: Over one-third of the TIF eligible permanent stadiums and arenas studied in the five major leagues have a direct or strong TIF connection. Direct TIF contributions to sports venues, as well as TIF use intended to generate real estate development around these venues, are most frequent and financially significant in arenas and soccer-specific stadiums. Additionally, arena and stadium projects using TIF often accompany ancillary real estate development. 

Originality/value: A primary purpose of this article is to provide a previously missing general reference resource to governments and citizens of jurisdictions considering facility TIF use on the scope, nature, extent and identity of TIF projects related to major league sports venues. More generally, the inventory and assessment of TIF use in professional sports venues offered by this article sets the stage for future research on associative relationships between TIF contributions and facility finance outcomes as well as the normative value of venue-related TIF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-517
Number of pages23
JournalSport, Business and Management: An International Journal
Issue number4
Early online date6 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes


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