How Long a Honeymoon? The Effect of New Stadiums on Attendance in Major League Baseball

  • Clapp C
  • Hakes J
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Using panel data of MLB team attendance from 1950 to 2002, we determined that the attendance “honeymoon” effect of a new stadium—after separating quality-of-play effects—increases attendance by 32% to 37% the opening year of a new stadium. Attendance remains above baseline levels for only two seasons for multipurpose stadiums built during 1960 to 1974 but for 6 to 10 seasons at newer ballparks. Contrary to expectations, there is no systematic interaction between new venues and team performance on attendance or stadium revenues. This noncomplementarity implies that a profit-maximizing team owner would not use a new stadium’s revenue stream to increase team quality of play.

Author-supplied keywords

  • attendance estimation
  • novelty demand effects
  • sports venues
  • stadium economics

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  • Christopher M. Clapp

  • Jahn K. Hakes

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