Detroit Today: Are sports teams worth the public money we give them? 

Two guests join the show to explore the real value of professional sports to fans, the city and our region.

Ford Field full of fanxs before a Lions game

Ford Field full of fans before a Lions game.

The Detroit Lions are having a remarkable season. However, with that success comes change – notably a significant 30% rise in ticket prices for next season.

While fans grapple with these increases, some analysts suggest the Lions’ playoff win could bring between $20 and $50 million to our city. But it raises a crucial question: What is the real value of professional sports to fans, the city and our region?

To help provide those answers and more, Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson was joined Friday by Bill Shea, a sports business journalist and novelist, and David Berri, a sports economist and professor at Southern Utah University.

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Bill Shea is a sports business journalist and novelist, formerly of Crain’s Detroit Business and The Athletic. He recently wrote a piece for Bridge Michigan highlighting how the Detroit Lions playoff run will affect prices for fans next year.

“Don’t sell it as we’re all going to be rich and better off — our sports fandom, maybe, but there’s a lot of people who are not (Detroit) Lions fans or Pistons, Red Wings fans,” he said.

David Berri is a sports economist and professor at Southern Utah University. He was featured in Bill Shea’s piece on the rise in prices beyond tickets. He says there’s no economic benefit to have cities subsidize sports stadiums and teams.

“If you’re going to go to a (Detroit) Lions playoff game, there’s something else you did not do,” said Berri.

Listen to Detroit Today with host Stephen Henderson weekdays from 9-10 a.m. ET on 101.9 WDET and streaming on-demand.

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  • Detroit Today
    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.