New Sports Arena in your City?

The major city in my area, Sacramento, has been trying for years to woo the Kings basketball team into staying put. The team has been threatening to leave for years due to their “not able to be competitive” in their current facility. Well, the city and the league have cobbled together a deal to build a new arena downtown on some vacant land that used to be the railyards, but has been unused for decades, and the team seems to be interested in staying.

Here is my question I hope to get some opinions: How has your new sports arena worked out in your city? Has the promise of thousands of jobs been realized? Has revenue been healthy? How was it financed? Basically, was it worth it for your city, or was it just a big boondoggle? Thx in advance!

Our city built a new football stadium… you may have seen it during this little game called the Super Bowl. I’d say it worked out well for Indy.

How does “cost $570 million in 1989; sold in 2005 for $25 million” sound?

Better than cost $55.7M in 1975 and sold for $550K in 2009. Pontiac Silverdome.

Outside of spectacular failures like these, which are probably rare, I am interested in recently built arenas. I know San Jose built an arena for the Sharks and basically gave the team the keys, in order to attract and maintain a major league team. Are other cities giving away the farm in order to attract sports franchises, and is it working out? Are they a net positive or a drain on the city?

I thought the one in Sacramento was recently built.

Then there’s Key Arena in Seattle; renovated in '95 such that only four roof beams were left alone. The Sonics skipped town in 2008.

Tell the Kings not to let the door hit them in the butt on the way out.

What is now “Power Balance Pavilion” was opened in 1988. It was out in the boonies then and it’s still out in the boonies now.

The politicos in Las Vegas have been desperately trying to get a huge-ass stadium built here for years. They seem to be getting close with lots of proposals put forth - some privately funded, others partially paid for by tax payers.
However, it seems all sort of random to me.
They don’t seem to care what sport comes with it - basketball, hockey, football, baseball, soccer, curling, javelin throwing, archery, dodge ball…
They seem to firmly believe, “if we build it, they will come.”

I could maybe understand if they had a pro team expressing interest in coming - but so far, it has all been some nebulous fantasy of “some team” will move here, but first we have to build the damned thing, and make it huge and expensive!

I am by no means a sports fan, but I suppose it might be nice to have a stadium for larger concerts or shows (even though we already have MGM Grand Garden, and Mandalay Bay for large events).

I just don’t think the locals are all that wild about any sports franchise to keep those seats filled - maybe tourists might go out of idle curiosity, or to see their home team play - but other than that, I am not convinced this is all that great idea with the pie-in-the-sky predictions of thousands of jobs and billions in extra income.

AT&T Park has completely built up the surrounding area and has been fantastic. And I’d LOVE to see the A’s get the same thing in Jack London Square.

ATT park is a good example of doing it right. The big advantage of the location is that is where the people are, as well as an attractive and well designed venue. I like that it has revitalized the area and things are better in the neighborhood even when there is no baseball going on - that seems like a promise kept. It also helps that the Giants have been competitive in recent years, unlike the Kings.

We’ll see how this goes. Any dopers in the Dallas area to comment on Jerry Jones Stadium?

A year doesn’t seem to go by in the Twin Cities without one of the four major franchises with their hat out. It’s really annoying because the voters vote it down but the new stadiums always seem to be made anyways.

San Antonio built the Alamodome to attract an NFL franchise in the mid 1980s. Other than the Saints playing part of their Katrina-season in the dome, it failed utterly in that regard. It hosts a mid-level bowl game every December, and high school playoff games, the occasional big concert. The NBA Spurs played in a partitioned part of the arena for a few years before the city built them a proper 90s style basketball palace.

If San Antonio ever seriously wanted to pursue a new franchise or a relocated one, the Alamodome would only be a suitable as a stopgap solution, a new $1B stadium would likely need to be constructed. But Jerry Jones likely has enough pull in the NFL power structure to prevent a third NFL franchise from taking root in Texas, so that will never happen in the near to distant future.

In the end, I’m sure the city lost more money on the construction of the Alamodome than they got back in the events they’ve filled it with, but its not nearly the black hole that some cities have ended up with.

The most recent in Milwaukee was Miller Park. Frankly, I don’t like it at all (I think the design and execution was poor, and that’s without taking into the account of 3 workers’ deaths from an accident during construction), but my opinion is probably in minority in southeast Wisconsin.

The cost is supposed to be somewhere around $450m, but it seems like the sales tax that was created to fund it keeps getting extended beyond the original expiration date. The retractible roof has had problems with leaking and just opening/closing correctly. Every year, there’s an improvement (new scoreboard, new suites, etc) that the club should be paying for, and I think the public usually ends up on the hook for that cost. It’s an ugly mess of future-meets-the-past design (there was something about wanting an Ebbets Field look to the facade, even though Milwaukee has no connection to Brooklyn nor the Dodgers). Even though it’s a retractible roof, it always feels like you’re inside, whether it’s 1pm or 9pm, open or closed. There’s been some development on the stretch of road about 1/2 mile to 3 miles south of the stadium (places like Applebees, Target, Menards, local grocery stores), but I think that’s just moving people from shopping in one area to another, so the stadium helped development at this place here, but hurt the place over there. Milwaukee and Wisconsin residents love tailgating, so the idea of a downtown stadium never really took off, which means that other businesses don’t see much of the boom that other cities may get (overstated though that may be). The arguments for building it were made 15 years ago, so I don’t remember if we were being told “you’ll see everyone spending more at the bars and restaurants before a game! Except they’ll be tailgating…” but that’s usually the argument elsewhere. There are about 6 bars within walking distance of the stadium, but none of them were built in response to the stadium.

I don’t like that any city should be building temples to sports for $100m to $1b. I understand the personal connection to a team (I’ll forever hold a grudge toward Bud Selig for suggesting MN should spend money or the Twins will move to North Carolina…even though NC didn’t want to spend the money, either). Now my Twins have their new stadium, which is beautiful, but it’s costing a lot of public money. And my Vikings look like they’ll get their new plaything soon, too, at about 66% public cost. At least the Vikings will keep the dome so that they can continue to host Final Fours, a Super Bowl, and other things that Milwaukee can’t because the Millerdome can’t stay cool when it’s hot out, nor warm when it’s cold out.

I’d say that AT&T was built “kind of near” where the people were. Few people were in that area before 2000. I was an usher there the first year, and some of my co-workers who were exterminators were probably the only people to set foot in the buildings that stood there previously for years. Abandoned warehouses and the like.

Doesn’t really look like there’s much that could do. It’s in the middle of suburbia, complete with a Walmart Supercenter across the street.

I forgot to add this bit of brilliance from the Miami Marlins president:

I suspect that, in private, most team owners and top brass share his sentiment. But we love our teams, so let’s give 'em more money! Nevermind that the stadium experience isn’t that great anymore, since you can cook great food at home and see virtually any game in the big 4 sports at home in HD for less money in a year than a couple days at the ballpark.

Columbus, Ohio is somewhat unique in that it is a pretty big city that, up until 2000, did not host any major professional sports teams. In 2000, Nationwide Arena, home of the NHL Blue Jackets, opened up downtown and it has been a big success. I beleive the arena was fully funded by Nationwide, which is nice for the city and the taxpayers. The fact that it is right downtown, not out in the boonies somewhere, makes it easily accessible. The whole area is known as the arena district now and there are lots of great bars, restaurants and shops. Location and the fact that Columbus is easily large enough to support such an arena are what really make it work.

I’m not in Dallas, nor am I much of a sports fan, but there are only about eight home games for a football team but about ten times as many for a baseball team. So a baseball park is already used many more times a year. (Also, isn’t the baseball season longer?) And football stadiums can’t easily be used for much else. So much of the year you’ve got this giant empty building that cost upwards of a billion dollars.

Generally, these publicly financed sports venues are great for the teams and not so good for the taxpayers. See for numerous examples.

If they were such great moneymakers the team owners would build them themselves, of course.

This is true, up to a point. The Arena District is a huge success. It is a major addition to Columbus’ convention business, and the new minor league ball park was built there to add more traffic to the area. The area’s major outdoor concert location is also now located in the Arena District, the larger typical amphitheater shed in the suburbs closed a few years ago because property values had risen and the land was more valuable for development (note that this was a lie: the land is undeveloped, the shed remains in place and weed infested, but concert business dropped and fights over noise got to be too much).

Anyhoo, the economics of private ownership and running a sports franchise for an arena were costing the team about $10 mil. a year. The city, county, team, and Nationwide insurance worked out a deal that benefits everybody, the details of which are too tedious for here. I think this article may disappear behind a paywall at some point but it covers the deal fairly well: The are a few more provisions that include requiring the team spend money in an effort to be competitive, no taking the public money and running a minimum budget franchise.

There are those who argue that the public is bailing out an enterprise that the public voted against funding in the first place. That the team should have been left to founder and leave. These people are fools, and the elected officials in Columbus and Franklin County did what was best for the area in the long-term. Anybody who had seen the Arena District before and sees it now can see the change. It has acted as the anchor point for business and residential development that would have gone to the suburbs or left the area altogether. Next week Columbus will be hosting the NCAA basketball tournament at Nationwide, an event that simply does not happen without the arena and which will bring in thousands of people and dollars.

Sidenote - the ballpark built in the Arena District is publicly owned, by so is the franchise. Franklin County actually owns both the AAA International League franchise and the stadium. To the county’s credit it was able to finance the building of a new showplace stadium at a reasonable cost. The old place was horrible rundown, in a bad place, and never going to be made adequate. There are now very few nights that there is not some event happening in the Arena District.

Kansas City’s Sprint Center is the biggest boondoggle I’ve ever even heard of. It’s the third freaking arena in a one mile radius! The hyper-expensive new one is smaller than the perfectly fine old one, and dramatically less comfortable due to smaller chairs to accommodate the sky boxes. And neither of them are as comfortable as the older, smaller arena two blocks away from the new one. They build the Kemper to accommodate the Kings who couldn’t fill the larger venue and moved away. They built the Sprint with the claim that it would attract another professional basketball team…or maybe hockey. It’s bullshit. Kansas City has had both, and both failed. Kansas City is not a pro basketball or hockey town. Both have about the same size fan base here as professional soccer. Kansas City cares about college basketball, football and baseball. That’s it.

So the city has a huge financial burden of this pointless 3rd arena that few people actually enjoy, controlled by an entity that has a commercial interest in preventing events from happening at the the two older, better venues.

A friend of mine who grew up in KC and is a rabid sports fan, said she never got into the Royals (and, presumably, the Chiefs) because the stadium was so far out in the boonies. She is a KU fan, picked up the Bengals & Cavs at college, the Mets when she lived in NYC, and now the SF Giants & Warriors now that she lives in SF.