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No economic impact for ballparks? Tell that to Giants fans

AT&T Park

Want to argue that ballparks make no economic impact in a community? The area around AT&T Park, once a wasteland, is now a hopping, healthy area, in large part because of the impact of the home of the San Francisco Giants. And with the World Series starting there Wednesday, the impact — both financially and psychically — should be greater.

You can’t fault Jonathan Weber, formerly of the Industry Standard and founder of, for not being as conversant in ballpark economics as the experts. His job was to expound on the mood of San Francisco come the World Series, and he concludes that despite economic evidence to the contrary, there are intangibles brought to the table when a city hosts a big event — and these intangibles, while real, are something that can’t be measured in economic studies. Indeed, most observers of the San Francisco business scene give the Giants real credit for uplifting the area around the ballpark. Add to that the generally good feelings generated when the Giants made the Fall Classic:

And the psychic benefits, intangible though they may be, cannot be easily dismissed. Economists have trouble capturing psychological impact in their formulas, but they recognize that confidence and optimism lead people to behave in economically beneficial ways. So excitement about a team really can provide a financial lift.

RELATED STORIES: World Series starts Wednesday

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