The debate over who should pay for sports stadiums is a hot one. There are pros and cons to both sides of the argument. Who do you think should foot the bill?
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The Pros of Publicly Funded Stadiums
One of the main benefits of publicly funded stadiums is that they can bring in revenue for the city or municipality in which they are located. This is because they can attract tourists and generate new business for local businesses. In addition, publicly funded stadiums can also create new jobs.
It can be seen as an investment in the city
When a city taxpayers money to build a sports stadium, it is seen as an investment in the city. The stadium becomes a valuable asset to the city and can be used to host other events, like concerts, that bring in revenue. The stadium also creates jobs for people who work in the construction, concessions, and security at the stadium.
It can create jobs
The building and running of a stadium creates jobs. The people who construct the stadium, along with the ushers, security guards, concessions workers and others who are needed to keep the stadium running during events, benefit from publicly funded stadiums. The ripple effect of these jobs can help to improve an area’s economy as well.
It can bring in tax revenue
Advocates of publicly funded stadiums say that they can be a source of tax revenue for cash-strapped cities and states. A 2016 study by economists at the University of Colorado, Berkeley and the University of Virginia found that new stadiums built between 1990 and 2010 generated $4.7 billion in tax revenue for local and state governments.
The Cons of Publicly Funded Stadiums
The most obvious con of publicly funded stadiums is the cost. It is not uncommon for the cost of building a stadium to be well over a billion dollars. This is a huge cost to taxpayers, and it is often difficult to justify spending that much money on a stadium when there are other needs that could be funded with that money. Another con is that publicly funded stadiums often lead to a decrease in the quality of the surrounding area. This is because the stadium takes up a lot of space and can result in the area around the stadium becoming run-down.
The cost can be prohibitive
The cost of building a stadium is no small matter. In 2017, the average cost of an NFL stadium was $1.6 billion, while the average MLB stadium cost $572 million. These prices do not include the cost of land or infrastructure, which can add hundreds of millions of dollars to the total price tag.
When a city or state agrees to use public funds to finance a new stadium, it is essentially agreeing to pay for a large part of the project with taxpayer money. This can be a difficult pill to swallow for many people, especially when the team owner is already a wealthy individual.
What’s more, there is often no guarantee that the team will remain in the city after the stadium is built. In recent years, we have seen a number of teams relocate, despite having publicly funded stadiums. The Oakland Raiders are set to move to Las Vegas in 2020, and the Rams relocated from St. Louis to Los Angeles in 2016. If a team does decide to leave after receiving public money for its new stadium, the city or state is left holding the bag on an expensive white elephant.
The construction can displace residents
The construction of a new sports stadium can often displace residents who live in the area where the stadium is being built. This can be a major problem for low-income residents who may not have the resources to relocate. In some cases, local governments have used eminent domain to forcibly remove residents from their homes to make way for a new stadium.
The benefit to the city can be overstated
The benefit to the city can be overstated. A stadium might bring in some extra tourism dollars on game days, but it’s doubtful that it will have a significant impact on the city’s bottom line. In fact, many cities have found that the cost of hosting a professional team – in terms of increased police and infrastructure costs – far outweighs any economic benefit.