Read

Search form

Report: Billionaires Are Relying On Public Assistance To Build Sports Stadiums

Report: Billionaires Are Relying On Public Assistance To Build Sports Stadiums
Mon, 9/23/2013 - by Martin Michaels
This article originally appeared on Mint Press News

Despite having billions in personal wealth, the owners of professional sports teams are increasingly relying upon taxpayer subsidies to pay for stadiums or renovate existing ones, ThinkProgress reports. Across the U.S., taxpayers have been asked to foot the bill for lavish stadiums that have gone over-budget by some $10 billion in recent years.

The report follows the publication of Forbes’ list of the 400 richest Americans, a who’s who of the mega-rich in the U.S. Atop that list is Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who boasts a fortune of $72 billion. Behind him comes Fortune 500 CEOs, investment gurus and 32 owners of professional sports teams, including 14 NFL teams, according to a recent ESPN report.

The richest among the owners of sport teams is Paul Allen, who owns both the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks. His fortune of $15.8 billion makes him the 26th richest American on the Forbes list this year.

When it comes to financing stadiums, cities are typically promised increased tax revenue, jobs and the prestige of hosting a professional sports team — but some economists say that this amounts to a raw deal for cities.

Andrew Zimbalist, the Robert A. Woods Professor of Economics at Smith College and a specialist in public investment, believes that when it comes to public financing of stadiums, taxpayers usually get a poor return on their investment.

“All of the independent, scholarly research on the issue of whether sports teams and facilities have a positive economic impact has come to the same conclusion: One should not anticipate that a team or a facility by itself will either increase employment or raise per capita income in a metropolitan area,” Woods said in a statement last year.

In many cases, cities already understand this poor investment and have rejected recent proposals by owners for public funding.

St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke was one of those owners. Despite amassing a fortune of $5.3 billion, Kroenke and the Rams have repeatedly asked the city of St. Louis for more than $700 million in public funds to renovate the Edward Jones Dome. The city rejected the latest plan in July, although Mayor Francis Slay’s office believes that Kroenke will continue trying to push for funding.

“There was nobody in St. Louis who thought that the Rams proposal was a good idea, other than the Rams,” the chief of staff to the mayor said at the time.

In Minneapolis, a contentious plan to publicly fund a new $945 million Minnesota Vikings stadium was approved by the state legislature despite opinion polls showing significant public opposition to the plan. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported in 2011 that 60 percent of respondents thought the Vikings should keep playing in the Metrodome, the team’s home for the past 29 years.

Nearly 75 percent said Vikings owner Zygi Wilf should not get taxpayer money for the new stadium, which is projected to open in 2016. There was no public referendum to determine if taxpayers wanted to fund the stadium.

 

Add new comment

Sign Up

Article Tabs

Standing Rock Sioux protests, Dakota Access Pipeline, police brutality, police violence, fossil fuel protests, Big Oil, Diggers, attack dogs

Some of the faces and voices from Standing Rock, in their own words.

U.K. surveillance legislation, Investigatory Powers Bill, Snoopers Charter, U.K. terrorism surveillance, U.K. surveillance programs, internet surveillance, cell phone surveillance, metadata

The Investigatory Powers Bill – or “Snoopers Charter” – is now enshrined in U.K. law, forcing internet and mobile phone companies to keep a record of all citizens’ browsing and phone use, even if they aren't suspected of terrorism.

Big Oil, Big Finance, economic transformation, climate collapse, economic alternatives, fossil fuel free, fossil fuel divestment, copyright laws, infrastructure investment, worker-owned cooperatives, jail the bankers, too big to fail

Moving society away from carbon dependence is not just about becoming good consumers, but engaged citizens.

money in politics, Don McGahn, campaign finance laws, FEC, campaign finance regulation, Citizens United, money as speech

Don McGahn, soon to be Donald Trump’s White House counsel, bears as much responsibility as any single person for turning America’s campaign finance system into something akin to a gigantic, clogged septic tank.

This week, the ice is melting, sea levels are rising and science denying psychopaths are steering the canoe.

Somali-Americans, Somali businesses, Abdul Razak Artan, Ohio State attacks, Somali activism

The Somali-American community was bashed last week after Abdul Razak Artan, a member of Ohio's large and growing Somali community, took part in a car-ramming attack and massive stabbing at the school that left 13 injured.

Posted 5 days 23 min ago
Dakota Access Pipeline, Standing Rock, Alex Garland, North Dakota, Standing Rock Sioux tribe, Standing Rock protests

Here are some of the faces from Standing Rock, in their own words.

Posted 5 days 9 min ago

This week, the ice is melting, sea levels are rising and science denying psychopaths are steering the canoe.

Posted 3 days 22 hours ago
Dakota Access Pipeline, Standing Rock Sioux tribe, Standing Rock protests, DAPL

"We thank the tribal youth who initiated this movement. We thank the millions of people around the globe who expressed support for our cause. We thank the thousands of people who came to the camps to support us."

Posted 5 days 18 hours ago
Big Oil, Big Finance, economic transformation, climate collapse, economic alternatives, fossil fuel free, fossil fuel divestment, copyright laws, infrastructure investment, worker-owned cooperatives, jail the bankers, too big to fail

Moving society away from carbon dependence is not just about becoming good consumers, but engaged citizens.

Posted 2 days 17 hours ago
Standing Rock Sioux protests, Dakota Access Pipeline, police brutality, police violence, fossil fuel protests, Big Oil, Diggers, attack dogs

Some of the faces and voices from Standing Rock, in their own words.

Matteo Renzi, 5 Star Movement, Italian populists, anti-EU vote

Matteo Renzi resigned Sunday night after suffering a crushing defeat in a referendum on constitutional reform – signaling a fresh populist blow for the E.U.

Noam Chomsky, Donald Trump, demagogue, Republican Party control, climate catastrophe, American militarism, fascism

Some years ago, the public intellectual warned that the U.S. was ripe for the rise of an authoritarian figure. Now he describes the threat Trump poses to the planet.

Big Oil, Big Finance, economic transformation, climate collapse, economic alternatives, fossil fuel free, fossil fuel divestment, copyright laws, infrastructure investment, worker-owned cooperatives, jail the bankers, too big to fail

Moving society away from carbon dependence is not just about becoming good consumers, but engaged citizens.

money in politics, Don McGahn, campaign finance laws, FEC, campaign finance regulation, Citizens United, money as speech

Don McGahn, soon to be Donald Trump’s White House counsel, bears as much responsibility as any single person for turning America’s campaign finance system into something akin to a gigantic, clogged septic tank.