Stadium Issues

January 24, 2008

Thanks to The Sports Economist we have two great articles on stadium subsidies.

#1. The Atlanta school board is considering granting the area around Turner Field the status of Tax Allocation District. This is taking taxes AWAY FROM SCHOOLS and pumping them into the area around Turner Field to encourage growth.

As Skip Sauer pointed out, the stadium subsidy itself isn’t enough, more is needed. So first you build a $400m stadium, partly because that new stadium will encourage growth in that area and generate tax revenue. Unfortunately, it will only do so if you give even more money to the area, preferably money taken from the public schools.

My favorite quote is by economist Roger Noll
“Sports venues alone are just big black holes that have the ability to depress the neighborhoods in which they’re in.”

#2. Our very own Seattle Times published an article where it is alleged, “If the Sonics leave Seattle, the city’s economy won’t suffer and most people won’t care.” Obviously that was said by the Seattle City Council, right? Nope, that was said by the Sonics. Of course it was not too long ago they were arguing the opposite in the hope of a new publicly built arena.

“The financial issue is simple, and the city’s analysts agree, there will be no net economic loss if the Sonics leave Seattle. Entertainment dollars not spent on the Sonics will be spent on Seattle’s many other sports and entertainment options. Seattleites will not reduce their entertainment budget simply because the Sonics leave,” the Sonics said in the court brief.

I have some morbid curiosity with stadium dealings. I’d love to hear anybody explain why building stadiums is good for the economy, all they do is divert money from a variety of sources to the pockets of millionaires. It is a shame that these owners hold municipalities hostage. These are the same owners that turn public sentiment against the players while they rake in millions.