Resolved: On balance, public subsidies for professional athletic organizations in the United States benefit their local communities.

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Resolved: On balance, public subsidies for professional athletic organizations in the United States benefit their local communities.

Wow, two good topics, PF and LD. I don’t want to speak too soon, but it looks like the NFL is getting its act together. This is actually a pretty contentious topic with decent evidence on both sides. I only hope that it doesn’t turn into a fact vomiting contest like the national finals of 2010. Let’s start with the definitions.


1Public Subsidies for Professional Athletic Organizations – Simply stated, this is government money that goes to private athletic organizations. The government pays for, in whole or in part, for particular expenses for a sports organization. These expenses can include building stadiums, buying uniforms, training camps, among other things. Typically, the government gets some sort of return built into this investment, such as a percentage of ticket sales.

2. Local Communities – The local community is really what you would think it is. It’s the immediate locality associated with the sports organizations. So, the local community for the St. Louis Rams would be St. Louis.

3. Benefit – This will really be the crux of any case for this topic. You will need to define what it means for something to benefit a local community. The most successful debaters on this topic will have a very clear definition for this and will frame their arguments within that definition.

Case Positions 


1. The Economic Benefit Doesn’t Exist – Families typically spend a fixed budget on entertainment. The increase in sales to local sports teams doesn’t actually indicate an economic uptick. Instead, it just indicates a reallocation of spending that was already occurring in other entertainment venues. If anything, newly funded government sports ventures harm local businesses, often irreversibly.

2. Sports subsidies draw money away from important areas – There are much better things that government could be spending this money on. Education, infrastructure, sustainable energy, and many other things are proven economic stimulants which can benefit from public money. Sports spending creates artificial temporary booms that do not last and harm other important areas. Even if there is an economic benefit, it is outweighed by the harm that occurs as a result of money being diverted.


1.  Sports subsidies create immediate stimulus – Large sports projects create jobs and increase local spending. In areas where the economy has stagnated, this stimulant is a necessary boost to create economic activity. This economic benefit spreads to local businesses through increased traffic and capital movement. In short, sports subsidies provide overall economic benefit.

2. Sports subsidies provide emotional benefit – The benefit of community emotional health is a unique perk of sports subsidies. Sports are unlike any other entertainment industry in the scale of community activity and gathering they inspire. They provide for an emotional fervor which spreads into all other aspects of society. This emotional benefit translates into lower healthcare costs, less crime, and more vibrant local businesses.

I hope this helps you get started. Good luck!


12 responses to “Resolved: On balance, public subsidies for professional athletic organizations in the United States benefit their local communities.

  1. Um, I wouldn’t mention a decrease in crime in point two of pro. first that would be extremely hard to get sold proof of and the other team could call you out on that. Second though while at the sporting event not much happens, after is a whole mother story. The after parties, angry fans whose team didn’t win… There are often multiple cases of violence, disruption of peace, vandalism, and rape right after a game or at the after parties held after a game. (Oh and if a large sum of people go home after a game with varying severities of injuries, though may give the healthcare industry more business, I’m not sure that would lower healthcare costs.)

    • Hi Erin,

      Thanks for reading and commenting. The things you mention relating to sports events can happen; I do agree with that. However, the link between reduced crime and sports programs is a proven one. Sports have been used in communities to reduce crime, particularly in young urban populations. It’s also proven that communities with a stronger professional sports presence have an easier time building and sustaining local and community sports programs. It’s not necessarily a difficult point to argue. The evidence is out there, but it is a difficult point to convince people of. There are a lot of stereotypes associated with sporting events because that’s what we see on the news, but on the whole, the argument that sports reduce crime can be made.

  2. This is great help! I needed some help finding evidence under the affirmative side, and this was so much help! Thank you!!!!

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      Thanks for reading. I don’t give out value structures on the blog. If you have any ideas, though, you’re welcome to post them, and I’ll give feedback! Alternatively, you can also go to the Academy website and pick up a brief, which does contain value structures you can use.

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