But more and more economists are putting their thoughts in writing, and - with no apparent business or political connection to the stadium discussion - their only motivation seems to be the public's welfare.
Sunday morning, the Tampa Bay Times wrote how there's little real evidence the Rays bring the often-quoted $100 million a year in economic impact to the region.
And I was also directed to a recent Freakanomics.com post that explains how pro sports teams in North America have evolved into "a very odd industry":
Typically we tend to think that firms need capital and labor to produce goods; and owners of the firm are responsible for providing the capital. But in sports, much of the capital is provided by the state (see the Baade and Matheson study for how much the public subsidizes professional sports arenas and stadiums).Then there's the Greg Mankiw survey that shows an incredible consensus among economists (85%) that "Local and state governments should eliminate subsidies to professional sports franchises."
To show just how convincing the consensus is, the Mankiw survey indicates more economists are critical of sports subsidies than a large federal deficit!