When Billionaires Build Stadiums, Taxpayers Get Whacked

The NFL is deeply crony.

Hey taxpayers – pay for my stadium. Thanks. What? You want “free” tickets? Ha! That’s funny. Don’t you know nothing’s free? Don’t worry though. You can look at the stadium you built me on TV. 

There are no tears shed here for the NFL’s ongoing decline.

(From Real Clear Economics)

As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Braves new ballpark will cost taxpayers more than $400 million, not including millions of dollars in transportation upgrades. Meanwhile, taxpayers will be sacked for more than $700 million for the Falcons new stadium over the long haul.

But what about those tremendous economic benefits derived from sports stadiums? Sorry, but no. That’s an economic fantasy peddled by politicians and team owners. All of the independent studies on pro sports facilities that look at what’s actually occurred in terms of subsidizing new stadiums and arenas make clear that such projects fail to boost incomes, jobs or overall economic activity. They’re duds when it comes to economic development.

As noted in an educational brief on the subject from the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, “In a 2017 poll, 83 percent of the economists surveyed agreed that ‘Providing state and local subsidies to build stadiums for professional sports teams is likely to cost the relevant taxpayers more than any local economic benefits that are generated.’ In their book, Sports, Jobs, and Taxes, Roger Noll and Andrew Zimbalist present a comprehensive review of stadium investments. In all cases, they find a new sports facility to have extremely small (or negative) effects on overall economic activity and employment. Furthermore, they were unable to find any facilities that had a reasonable return on investment. Sports economist Michael Leeds suggests that professional sports have very little economic impact, noting that a baseball team (with 81 regular-season home games per year) ‘has about the same impact on a community as a midsize department store.’”

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