Area Americans disagree on what sports facilities do for (or to) cities that build them

Moyers and Company has a bunch of stadium-related stuff up on its website, including a repost of its 2008 segment on the funding of the New York Yankees‘ new stadium, plus a collection of essays by local community activists and stadium experts on what new sports facilities have done for their cities. (Disclosure: I helped suggest a couple of the essayists.) Among the highlights:

“I invite you to take a walk around the neighborhood and see for yourself if that has happened. Businesses have closed and the remaining ones are hurting as the Yankee organization has moved many of the services inside the stadium.” —Joyce Hogi, Bronx community activist

“Forbes Magazine consistently lists Stockton as the most miserable city in the nation. For those who love Stockton, the arena is a great addition to the city; ‘I never thought Stockton could have something this nice,’ is a common refrain.” —Lori Gilbert, Stockton Record features writer

“When someone sits down with a beer and hot dog, virtually everything they see is owned by the District of Columbia. Yet all of the money earned from the stadium — tickets, concessions, advertising — goes to the team owner, Ted Lerner.” —Ed Lazere, D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute

“The stadium’s opening has been one of the greatest economic drivers for our city, providing thousands of jobs and an expanding sales tax revenue. If you combine this new revenue stream with the $500,000 expected annually from the Cowboys’ new naming rights deal with AT&T then Arlington is on pace to pay off the stadium ten years earlier than anticipated.” —Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck

Add it all up and, well, I’m not sure there’s any consensus, other than that stadiums are expensive, and that people like sports. But it does do a decent job of describing the elephant.

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2 comments on “Area Americans disagree on what sports facilities do for (or to) cities that build them

  1. Clearly if stadiums are such great economic drivers we as a nation don’t have enough of them. Santa Clara is only about the 222nd largest American city in population. We really need to expand the NFL so most of the cities larger than Santa Clara can build their own stadium for “their” team.

    Seems like a surefire way to national prosperity to me.

  2. Why stop with just one per city, SCJ?

    I mean, if building stadia is the key, why would you ever stop? Of course, in this enlightened age, we could substitute “military spending” for “sports stadium” and the underpinnings would be much the same.

    If only Jesse Ventura’s “time machine” episode were true, we could bring Adam Smith into the 21st century so he could see how wrong he was… you CAN pay people to dig holes and fill them up again. In fact, it’s a great way to run an economy…

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