Cities building sports stadiums?

On the average are cities making a good investment when they build or help to build a sports stadium?

In a word, no.

Look at Houston’s Astrodome. It was once the 8th Wonder of the World and all that. Now it’s falling to pieces, but we are still paying for it.

Well, the team owners generally think so… :rolleyes:

Otherwise, you’ll have to define what constitutes a “good investment.” I would assume the only way to argue it is a good investment is to contend that having a pro sports team enhances a city’s image. But I’d be shocked if you could pull up studies showing a city benefitted financially from the investment. Any such benefits would be difficult to assess, and are of only uncertain duration - until the owner gets an even better offer.

My vote is “No.”

Generally “NO!” and "Hell NO!" but of course the deals are all over the map, so sometimes it has been Ok, but never a great deal.

For the sake of argument, wouldn’t the income generated by home games or big events in the building help offset the cost? Maybe the city itself doesn’t directly recoup the money, but the businesses do, and they pay the city taxes to help defray the costs.

Not so much. This is mostly personal entertainment spending. In cities without major sports venues, people tend to spend about the same amount of entertainment dollars in other ways.

Sure- but only a little. Most "new’ tax dollars are just the local spending their dollars in a different way- no “new” income is realized.

But then there’s mucho extra costs, such as extra police, traffic, crime, etc.


  • A new sports facility has an extremely small (perhaps even negative) effect on overall economic activity and employment. No recent facility appears to have earned anything approaching a reasonable return on investment. No recent facility has been self-financing in terms of its impact on net tax revenues. Regardless of whether the unit of analysis is a local neighborhood, a city, or an entire metropolitan area, the economic benefits of sports facilities are de minimus.*

http://www.citylab.com/politics/2015/09/the-never-ending-stadium-boondoggle/403666/
*Subsidizing stadiums is an economic disaster

The overwhelming conclusion of decades of economic research on the subject is that using public funds to subsidize wealthy sports franchises makes zero economic sense and is a giant waste of taxpayer money. A wide array of studies have shown that professional teams add virtually no income to local economies. In fact, some of them find that large subsidies actually have a negative effect, taking money out of the local economy. Aside from the jobs generated by actually building the stadium, most jobs inside the stadium—selling food and beer or working at team concessions—are low-paying temp jobs. It’s even worse for football stadiums, which are used for games at most a dozen times a year, and maybe a few more times for concerts or large events. Public economic development dollars can be put to much better use on things besides subsidizing sports teams and their wealthy owners.

Ultimately, the burden of public subsides falls disproportionately on small cities that are the least able to bear the cost. For example, a $200 million public subsidy for a new stadium ends up costing a small city like Santa Clara roughly $1,650 per resident, compared to just $50 a person for L.A. And, of course, teams in bigger cities, with their bigger markets and more revenue, often do not need subsidies at all.*

http://www.creativeclass.com/_v3/creative_class/2007/12/27/the-stadium-ruse/

Our conclusion, and that of nearly all academic economists studying this issue, is that professional sports generally have little, if any, positive effect on a city’s economy, Humphreys and Coates wrote … The professors based their report on new data as well as previously published research in which they analyzed economic indicators from 37 major metropolitan areas with major-league baseball, football and basketball teams. The net economic impact of professional sports in Washington, D.C., and the 36 other cities that hosted professional sports teams over nearly 30 years, was a reduction in real per capita income over the entire metropolitan area, Humphreys and Coates noted in the report. The researchers found other patterns consistent with the presence of pro sports teams. Among them: a statistically significant negative impact on the retail and
services sectors of the local economy, including an average net loss, an increase in wages in the hotels and other lodgings sector (about $10 per worker year), but a reduction in wages in bars and restaurants (about $162 per worker per year)
.

Arlington, TX considered the Texas Rangers’ stadium such a success that they built another one for the cowboys. Add a water park and they make a killing in tourist dollars and room taxes.

http://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/community/arlington/article10754984.html

How would a large successful amusement park compare to a large successful sports stadium that would attract annualy comparable amounts of customers.

That’s because they raised taxes a shit load to pay for it:
Those stadium bonds are repaid through a half-cent sales tax, a 2 percent hotel occupancy tax and a 5 percent car rental tax approved by voters in 2004,

Arlington is in the middle of the DFW metroplex. They’ve sucked in a portion of the entertainment spending of several million people. Good for the “Arlington” bottom line, perhaps, but is it good for all the other jurisdictions?

I’m not sure I understand your question. They have a large successful amusement park and two large successful sports stadiums. AT&T stadium has the largest single game attendance record in the NFL (105K). Because the city owns the stadium, they have benefited from two other attendance records: Basketball (2010 Allstar game: 108K) and indoor concert (George Strait 104K).

Yes, they raised taxes on car rental and hotel rooms: tourists. The locals are affected by a 1/2% sales tax increase as well.

Look, I’m not saying it’s a perfect scenario, but everyone’s saying that cities come out as losers in the stadium building game and I’m saying not all cities do.

But I am doubtful that the taxpayers of that city benefited.

MY vote is almost always NO.

So you are saying that the locals being stuck with only a1/2% sales tax is a benefit?

If most if not all studies say its a poor economic decision, and the public opinion of funding them is a resounding “no”, why do politicians push the hell out new stadium deals?

Sports team owners give them large gifts and contributions, and some voters like the idea. Most are sport fans and idiots.

San Diego is going through the same BS now. They have a stadium, in beautiful Mission Valley. It was built in 1968, but somehow cement structures and plastic seats wear out I guess.

The Chargers didn’t get an attractive deal from the league for moving to LA, so nowthey are back, demanding a new stadium in downtown SD. The city says no, rebuild it where it now is. Screw it, Go to LA and enjoy the suck deal you have there Chargers. I don’t want to pay so you can play.

No. When we blew up Three Rivers Stadium we owed almost more on it than it cost to build in the first place.

As for our current crop of stadiums plus the Convention Center, say $13,000,000 and change from the tax payers every year.

Typical corporate welfare.

I assume that St. Louis is now stuck with a large, expensive, and now unused stadium.