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Protecting the Public’s Interest: Options for Structuring Public Authorities for Sport Venues

Mark S. Rosentraub, Michael B. Cantor, Sierra R. Bain


This study illustrates the benefits of public–private partnerships in creating public corporations to build sport venues. In addition to potential returns, public officials’ understanding of the potential structures of these authorities is equally important. Additionally, as the scope of public–private partnerships broadens, it is essential for administrators of secondary and higher level education to recognize the benefits of and understand the structure of these partnerships. This study presents the structures of four authorities and the details of the sport-related partnerships they entered. The authorities include the Gateway Economic Development Corporation of Greater Cleveland, Indianapolis Capital Improvement Board, Frisco Economic Development Corporation, and Detroit Downtown Development Authority. In each instance, individual outcomes were analyzed. This paper illustrates the range of responsibilities that could be assigned to authorities and the potential for benefits to be generated for teams, cities, universities, and school districts. The results from each partnership reflect the structure of the public authority. To protect the public's interest, the legislation creating a new public corporation must clearly outline its objectives, structure, and responsibilities. But when cities, universities, and school districts utilize authorities for sport-related development projects, the opportunities for achieving public policy goals are more expansive than many realize.

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sport management; public authorities; public administration

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