If you’re a diehard Chicago Cubs fan or you frequent Los Angeles Lakers games more than Jack Nicholson, cheering on your favorite team in person is a regular activity, if not a superstition.

But when it comes to how much pro sports factor into where they live, Americans don’t take them that seriously.

In a Google Consumer Survey of 2,000 people across the country, U.S. News asked how important it is to have access to professional sporting events in your hometown. Fifty-five percent of respondents said it was not a significant factor, with 42 percent of respondents replying that pro sports were not important at all. Only 17.8 percent of respondents rated professional sports of significant importance to them in their hometown.

While Americans largely seem unconcerned with having pro athletes represent their hometown, they seem to be buying into the sports hype when you look at a stadium's impact on real estate. A study by real estate information company and home listing site Trulia found homes surrounding Major League Baseball stadiums are, on average, valued 15 percent higher than the rest of their metro area. Sports may not be a priority for most Americans, but employment opportunities, increased media attention and greater revenue for nearby businesses from people attending the games leads many to fall on the "pro" side of having a pro team.

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“[National Football League] teams do bring dollars to town – people come to watch games, they bring media attention,” says David Weidner, managing editor of the Housing Economics Research Team at Trulia.

Depending on the city, sport and team, professional sports can have a profound impact on real estate – not just in the neighborhood the stadium resides in but also in the city as a whole. Keep these three details in mind if you’re looking to benefit from the growth of pro sports in your hometown.

The three rules for real estate remain location, location, location – even for stadiums. Even the billionaires who own professional sports teams aren’t immune to the need for a good location. A ballpark, stadium, arena or any other pro sports facility can only have a significant impact on its neighborhood when it embraces the community, and vice versa.

Earlier this year, Trulia examined home values near every MLB park and NFL stadium. The reports examined which stadiums had both positive and negative impacts on nearby home values compared to the rest of the metro area.

Stadiums located downtown tended to boost home values more than those located on the outskirts of the city or in the suburbs. Weidner notes planning for stadiums is key to generating a positive impact: “Thinking a ball park is just going to drop in and suddenly all the home values are going to take off” is a big mistake on the part of teams and community planners.

Weidner points to the stadiums for the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers, which are both located in the Dallas suburb Arlington, Texas. Home values near the Cowboys' AT&T Stadium are 4.9 percent less than the rest of the metro area, while homes near the Rangers' Globe Life Park in Arlington are valued at 28.7 percent less than the rest of the metro area.

Weidner stresses the area isn’t conducive to keep people in Arlington before and after games, often because fans travel farther distances to get there. “People come in from Dallas [and] Fort Worth, and then they get in their car and go home,” he says, noting that other stadiums located outside downtown areas face similar problems.

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The sport and the fan base matter. A pro sports team’s impact on local real estate values largely depends on the intensity of the fans and whether the facility will draw people to the area.

Weidner notes baseball stadiums can have a more significant impact than football because they have more games each season – 81 regular-season home games for MLB versus only eight for the NFL – and play in the spring and summer as opposed to fall and winter, when conditions aren’t as conducive to visiting restaurants and shops after games.

Trulia found newer baseball parks typically see higher home values in their neighborhoods – Yankee Stadium in New York opened in 2009 and has home values more than 81 percent higher than the rest of the metro area.

But that’s the Yankees – and they have one of the most passionate fan bases in sports.

While Yankee Stadium boosts surrounding home values more than any other MLB ballpark, other teams with less of a historic name see positive results as well. According to Truila, 14 stadiums have been built since 1999, but just two neighborhoods – those around the Miami's Marlins Park and Miller Park, home of the Milwaukee Brewers – had lower average home values than the rest of the metro area.

The Washington Nationals came to the District of Columbia in 2005, and Nationals Park opened in 2008. Despite lacking the historic fan base of other teams, nearby homes are valued at more than 15 percent higher than the rest of the metro area.

Ben Puchalski, principal broker for Capital Park Realty in the District of Columbia, says that while Nats Park has led to both commercial and residential development in the neighborhood, he’s never worked with a client looking to live in Capitol Riverfront – the neighborhood housing the stadium – due to his or her deep love of the team.

“I think it’s just another added benefit to living down there,” Puchalski says.

Iconic locales are the outliers. A few particularly famous sports venues rise above the rest, with history and notoriety that offer more than a game.

Iconic stadiums like Fenway Park in Boston (opened in 1912) and Wrigley Field in Chicago (opened in 1914) are a key part of their neighborhoods, attracting residents (and tourists) who want to be part of the baseball culture.

“They’re old-time residents, so everybody knows them. There’s a familiarity, and they have that advantage,” Weidner says.

Boston's Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood has home values 66.3 percent higher than the metro average, and Wrigleyville sees homes valued at 22.3 percent more than the rest of the Chicagoland.

[See: The 20 Most Desirable Places to Live in the U.S.]

In other cities a ballpark or football stadium is more of a perk than a motivator, but in Boston residents know what they’re looking for when they move to Fenway-Kenmore, explains Adam Mundt, leasing manager for Metro Realty Corp in Boston.

“It adds an element of excitement because there’s more foot traffic – a lot more people. During that time of year there’s a lot more action going on. … The people that go to live there expect that,” Mundt says.

The neighborhood has seen a revitalization in the last five years, Mundt says, noting both commercial and residential development are attracting residents and visitors, as well as capitalizing off the proximity to Fenway Park: “A lot of new construction, a lot of great, new restaurants came into the area, and it’s become a lot more lively.”

Corrected on June 15, 2016: A previous version of this incorrectly identified the name of the Trulia research team that examined home value information. It is the Housing Economics Research Team.

Tags: real estate, home prices, new home sales, existing home sales, housing market, housing, sports


Devon Thorsby is the Real Estate editor at U.S. News & World Report, where she writes consumer-focused articles about the homebuying and selling process, home improvement, tenant rights and the state of the housing market.

She has appeared in media interviews across the U.S. including National Public Radio, WTOP (Washington, D.C.) and KOH (Reno, Nevada) and various print publications, as well as having served on panels discussing real estate development, city planning policy and homebuilding.

Previously, she served as a researcher of commercial real estate transactions and information, and is currently a member of the National Association of Real Estate Editors. Thorsby studied Political Science at the University of Michigan, where she also served as a news reporter and editor for the student newspaper The Michigan Daily. Follow her on Twitter or write to her at dthorsby@usnews.com.