Before 1973, cricket and Australian Football used the Adelaide Oval for major games during their respective seasons. Football's popularity as a spectator sport prompted its organising body to seek to build an improved stadium, but cricket authorities controlled the asset and acted to maintain its specialised character as a cricket ground. A case study of how the gains from a shared capital good are negotiated when asset controllers and users have different objectives is provided. A series of counterfactual scenarios based on football remaining at the Oval is constructed from archival sources and their outcomes projected based on data in financial reports.
Shared use of grounds allowed Australian cricket and football to subsidize each other, but cartel arrangements that determined the use of stadiums and the distribution of benefits and costs between sports may have been less than optimal. Estimation of deadweight losses from the use of stadiums is not possible in the absence of a counterfactual specifying the level of demand if the behaviour of cartel members had been coordinated more effectively. Archival, financial and attendance report data can be used to estimate increases in actual demand under alternative scenarios. In Melbourne and Adelaide, the controlling bodies of cricket and football uncured significant losses in welfare from joint use of their cities’ major stadium, due to the importance they attached to non-monetary aspects of utility.