Assigned reading for today: Huffpost article on the pros and cons of publicly subsidizing wealthy NFL team owners’ desire for new stadiums. Along with other stuck-in-the mud cities, the article cites otherwise impoverished St. Louis’ current pathetic efforts to retain a NFL team (any NFL team). The money quote:
If the benefits aren’t flowing to cities, they are instead going primarily to NFL owners. A 2012 Bloomberg analysis found that since 2000, new stadiums had helped double team values across pro sports, and Baade noted that while it appears NFL teams are now putting more of their own money in than they used to, they are doing so primarily out of revenue streams — luxury boxes, personal seat licenses and other in-stadium revenues — that either wouldn’t exist without a new stadium or are larger because of it.
“The public sector is underwriting most of the risk,” Baade said, “while most of the benefits that accrue, accrue to the teams.”
No real news there, but the point of view still seems to be too revolutionary for set-in-their-ways Missouri political elites represented by Governor Nixon and St. Louis Mayor Slay.
I do understand that Mayor Slay and Governor Nixon like the idea of union jobs that would probably result from a stadium project along with what they possibly hope would be some concomitant North Side development. But there are other ways to spend infrastructure dollars and create jobs that would actually benefit the city’s citizens instead of ripping off taxpayers. In this regard, the article notes that a new report “links the subsidization of new stadiums to higher poverty rates and lower median incomes in their home cities, and it found that most NFL cities fared worse by both measures after paying for a new stadium.”