D.C. official: We lowballed stadium costs

As part of a long piece in today’s Washington Post analyzing the now-$714 million Washington Nationals deal, there’s this juicy tidbit:

Green’s budget, however, did not include money for upgrades to a nearby Metro station and roads or other infrastructure costs because a stadium site had not been selected, said a source who helped prepare the budget. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the project is at a sensitive stage, said officials also added relatively small contingency costs because they knew it would be hard to persuade the council to approve a larger budget.

If you want an explanation for why stadiums invariably generate huge cost overruns from initial proposal to final cost, there’s your answer. It’s long been speculated that stadium boosters lowball cost estimates in order to make stadiums sound cheaper, but to my knowledge this is the first time that a city official – even an anonymous one – has admitted to it in print.

One comment on “D.C. official: We lowballed stadium costs

  1. I wrote about this very subject at length for my senior thesis. Infrastructure costs are usually not included in the initial stadium cost bill because then the extreme bloating begins…