Friday roundup: New stadium demands in Calgary, 90% shortfall in promised Raiders jobs, corporate subsidies found (yet again) to do squat-all to create jobs

Happy Friday! Is Australia still on fire? (Checks.) Cool, I’m sure we’ll be ready to pay attention to that again as soon as there are some more images of adorable thirsty koalas.

In the meantime, news on some slightly less apocalyptic slow-moving catastrophes:

  • CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie says the Calgary Stampeders deserve “a state-of-the-art, beautiful stadium” but he’ll “take my queues [sic, seriously, Montreal Gazette, you’re supposed to be an English-language paper]” from team execs for when “they think it’s time for me to be a guy who makes a little noise and tries to stimulate a positive discussion.” Yep, that’s a sports league commissioner’s job! Why a new stadium is Calgary’s job and not the Stampeders owners’ job is less clear, but given that the team owners did such a good job at extracting public money for an arena for the Flames (which they also own), you know they’re going to be jonesing for a sequel. (In fact, a Stampeders stadium was originally part of the Flames plan before Mayor Naheed Nenshi rejected it as too expensive and only would approve the Flames part, so maybe this is just a case of a team owner deciding it’s easier to get sports projects approved in serial rather than in parallel.)
  • It’s now been 100 days since Nashville Mayor John Cooper called a halt to Nashville S.C.‘s stadium construction, and Cooper is still not answering questions about when it may resume. Previous indications were that he’s refusing to issue demolition permits in order to renegotiate who’ll pay for cost overruns, but it would be kind of cool if he’s just realized that he can take advantage of MLS having approved a Nashville expansion franchise before everything was signed off on regarding public stadium subsidies by just declining to build the stadium and keeping the team. (Nashville S.C. will have to play in a 21-year-old NFL stadium until then, boo hoo.)
  • Las Vegas Raiders stadium proponents promised it would create 18,700 construction jobs, and now it’s only creating 1,655 jobs, and the stadium boosters say this doesn’t count off-site workers like “support staff at construction companies, architects and engineers, and equipment and service suppliers,” but really it’s more about how most of those 18,700 jobs were never full-time anyway. At least state senator Aaron Ford can sleep at night knowing he didn’t deny a single construction worker a job; guess he isn’t kept up by thinking of any of the people who were denied jobs by virtue of the state of Nevada having $750 million less to spend on other things.
  • 161st Street Business Improvement Director Cary Goodman has a plan for a new NYC F.C. stadium in the Bronx to benefit the local community by having it be owned by the local community, so that “when naming rights are sold, when broadcast fees are collected, when merchandising agreements are made, or when sponsorships and suites are sold, revenue would pour into the [community-owned] corporation and be distributed as dividends accordingly.” This sounds great, except that broadcast fees don’t go to a stadium, they go to the team that plays in a stadium, and also things like sponsorships and suites and naming rights are exactly the kind of revenues that the NYC F.C. owners would be building a stadium in order to collect, so it’s pretty unlikely they’d agree to hand it over to Bronx residents. We really gotta get over the misconception that stadiums make money, people; playing in stadiums that somebody else built for you is where the real profit is, and don’t anyone forget it.
  • Reporters in Kansas City are still asking Royals owner John Sherman if he’d like a downtown baseball stadium, and Sherman is still saying sure, man. (See what I did there? Huh? Huh?) This article also features a quote about how great a downtown ballpark would be from an executive vice president of Vantrust Real Estate, which owns lots of downtown properties; it must be nice to be rich and get to have your Christmas present wish lists printed on local journalism sites as if they’re news.
  • A new study of business tax incentives found that state and local governments spend $30 billion a year on them, with no measurable effect on job growth. Also, most of the benefits flow to a relatively small number of large firms (good luck getting a tax break for your pizzeria), and some states spend more on corporate tax breaks than they collect in corporate taxes, with five (Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming) spending an average of $44 per resident on tax breaks even though they have collect no state corporate income tax at all. (The biggest spenders on a per-capita basis: Michigan, West Virginia, New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire.) Surely local elected officials will now take a hard look at the cost of these subsidies and ha ha, no, even when tax breaks are proven failures it takes decades before anyone might notice and do anything about them, so don’t hold your breath that anyone is going to see the light just because of one more study, at least not unless it’s accompanied by angry mobs with pitchforks.
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12 comments on “Friday roundup: New stadium demands in Calgary, 90% shortfall in promised Raiders jobs, corporate subsidies found (yet again) to do squat-all to create jobs

  1. Ugh. A downtown Royals stadium would be awful. Getting to downtown KC on a weekday is a hot mess on a good day, not to mention there isn’t enough parking, no transit, etc. Being out at Truman is probably the best, especially since a good chunk of the fan base is coming from the Kansas side of the boarder.

  2. Speaking of the Raiders…well, actually not…Here’s some hard core journalism on the HUGE, positive impact to Santa Clara from the Niners playoff game tomorrow:

    You may have met your match Neil. There is an **actual** academic quoted in the article that speaks on the money rolling in.

    (Oh, wait. he’s actually an adjunct professor who spent 27 years promoting tourism in Santa Clara.
    No bias there. I wonder if this San Jose State adjunct professor has ever driven 10 miles to chat with Stanford’s real-live professor Roger Noll.)

    Ok, fine, the Vikings entourage and some fans will fly in and take up some unoccupied hotel rooms and eat out a few places. And the twenty restaurants within a mile of the stadium that are normally dead on the weekends because the stadium sits in the middle of a commercial zone will see a lift for a few hours, but that’s about it.

    Hang on, I take that back. I am personally benefiting from this Saturday’s game. I will be getting paid, in some form that has not yet been negotiated (but likely will be couple bottles of good wine) for babysitting the 2 year old grandson of some friends who are taking their daughter and son-in-law to the game. Do i need to pay any tax on that that would go back to paying off the bonds? I want to do my part and not shirk the law.

    The money shot quote from the adjunct oracle: “Super Bowl by far was the biggest. The economic impact regionally was tremendous, in the millions. As far as this individual playoff game, it’s hard to tell.”

    PS: A second article from the Chronicle, but behind a paywall.

    1. Still waiting for the long article about the huge negative economic impact the next time the niners have a road game and their fans pull money out of the community.

      1. We were certainly at risk for that, but a big win in Seattle put in negative economic impact on the Emerald City.

        My official boost-in-economic-activity haul was two bottles of wine, 3 boxes of chocolates and a small cutting board with cheese, salami and crackers.

        All of it could have been a re-gift which i think would be the equivalent of building a stadium and people going there instead of the local 8-plex movie theatre. But I’ll leave the analogies to Neil.

  3. Don’t worry about all the bushfires down her in Oz, our NSW state government is so rich it can afford spend billions on rebuilding stadiums build that are only 20-30 years old that struggle to get even half full, or, in the case of our 20-year-old Olympic stadium even a quarter full.

  4. Nashville SC has much bigger problem than a stadium. 5,000 season ticket sold to date.

    Note to Garber and MLS. Optics aren’t going to look good with newest MLS franchise having 5,000 fans in 30,000 seat Nissan stadium with upper deck tarped off.

    Maybe you don’t need to “build it,” because it doesn’t appear “their gonna come.”

  5. PSL (Personal Seat License) sales at Raiders’ Las Vegas Stadium soar $228M over projections

  6. Related to states that negotiate business tax incentives to encourage companies to build/move/expand in their state. You seem miffed that five states offer incentives to businesses averaging $44 per tax payer even though there is no state income tax collected in those states.

    I know my state, Texas, has negotiated tax incentives to bring manufacturing facilities into the state, Toyota’s huge facility in San Antonio for one, that benefits communities and states with jobs, increased property tax payments and community involvement.

    Is your issue, you live in a very high tax city and state, that these states/cities don’t have an income tax?

    1. No *corporate* income tax in those states, not no personal income tax. So the corporations are being reimbursed on taxes that they weren’t paying in the first place.

      I don’t actually think this is any worse than giving money to corporations that do pay taxes — a tax expenditure is a tax expenditure, whether it’s a rebate on current taxes or just a check payable by the state treasury — but the study mentioned the irony of it, so I figured it was worth mentioning.

  7. I unerstand how the stadium game is played so I’m not surprised that the Royals’ current owner would like a new ballpark in downtown KC, but there’s no way you can convince me that Kauffman Stadium is inadequate. To me, it’s the Dodger Stadium of the American League and has been well-kept and modified for the 45 years it’s been open.

    Maybe some ballparks could stand to be replaced, but the one in Kansas City isn’t one of them…but we all know stuff like that doesn’t matter.

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