We Built This: Keeping Score of America's Stadium Spending Spree

To the tune of at least $4 billion in tax exemptions, America's taxpayers have collectively subsidized the construction of sports venues across the country, for the benefit of sports owners' bottom line. Are we getting our money's worth?
September 6, 2012, 5am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Aaron Kuriloff and Darrell Preston investigate the dozens of wealthy owners whose big-league teams have benefited from millions of dollars in tax-free borrowing that have gone towards the construction of new stadiums. This borrowing occurred despite Congressional efforts in 1986, "to bar cities and states from building stadiums with tax breaks originally set up to help local governments cut their borrowing costs for building roads, sewers and schools."

"During the past decade, studies by Grant Long; Robert Baade of Lake Forest College near Chicago; Victor Matheson, an economist at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts; and others have foundthat stadiums are poor municipal investments," note Kuriloff and Preston. "Nonetheless, political leaders are still willing to offer taxpayer-funded aid to team owners -- including muni-bond financing -- to lure or avoid losing a franchise and the civic pride and event-related jobs that go with it."

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Published on Wednesday, September 5, 2012 in Bloomberg
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