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Not until everyone in the Bronx has asthma are we going to stop building stadiums.
June 3, 2010 11:04 AM   Subscribe

Stadium Status by the Internets Celebrities (previously 1, 2) is a (short) documentary which examines the rush of new sports stadiums in NYC as the latest example of an obscene national trend. New stadiums are built every year and the private businesses that own them benefit from huge sums of public money for their creation. Are we getting our money's worth?
posted by unsupervised (37 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Does anyone know an objective source that could tell me how much revenue on average teams whose stadiums are built with public funding return to the cities they're in?

I'm curious.
posted by zarq at 11:09 AM on June 3, 2010


They want to move the 49ers to Santa Clara for heaven's sakes. Santa Clara doesn't need a stadium. It's totally stupid.
posted by GuyZero at 11:14 AM on June 3, 2010


Related: Texas state government to contribute $25 million for construction of a Formula 1 track while cutting $3.5 million from a fund assisting low-income families with chronically ill children.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 11:18 AM on June 3, 2010 [15 favorites]


zarq: "Does anyone know an objective source that could tell me how much revenue on average teams whose stadiums are built with public funding return to the cities they're in? "

I haven't had time to read this thoroughly, but this seems to be a look at the issue. I get the impression that the answer from here is that it isn't worth it. Of course, it's from the Cato Institute but it's the only general approach I could find.
posted by charred husk at 11:19 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Field of Schemes is a play-by-play account of how the drive for new sports stadiums and arenas drains $2 billion a year from public treasuries for the sake of private profit. While the millionaires who own sports franchises have seen the value of their assets soar under this scheme, taxpayers, urban residents, and sports fans have all come out losers, forced to pay both higher taxes and higher ticket prices for seats that, thanks to the layers of luxury seating that typify new stadiums, usually offer a worse view of the action.

The stories in Field of Schemes, from Baltimore to Cleveland and Minneapolis to Seattle and dozens of places in between, tell of the sports-team owners who use their money and their political muscle to get their way, and of the stories of spirited local groups—like Detroit’s Tiger Stadium Fan Club and Boston’s Save Fenway Park!—that have fought to save the games we love and the public dollars our cities need.

This revised and expanded edition features the first comprehensive reporting on the recent stadium battles in Washington DC, New York City, and Boston as well as updates on how cities have fared with the first wave of new stadiums built in recent years.

posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 11:20 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


every time our local minor (or minor minor, not sure) baseball team has the fireworks go off (whether they lose or win), i think about how muich food and shelter (and mental health care) that would be for the all the homeless people living under the bridges near the stadium. i guess the fireworks add value or soemthing?

they just got a new stadium. it's now named after a bank. i feel like going to look up about its financing and how much tax money went to it, and the team in general.
posted by sio42 at 11:23 AM on June 3, 2010


No, we're not getting out money's worth. And we wouldn't even if the Jets and Giants faced each other in the Super Bowl, the Mets and Yankees in the World Series, and the Knicks and Nets in the conference finals. There are books and studies, but no politician has any incentive to say no and anger the sports fans who aren't any smarter.

Not to mention the neighborhoods: Citi replaced Shea in a crappy neighborhood, but the new Yankee Stadium destroyed two city parks which they have yet to replace. The new Nets arena in downtown Brooklyn used eminent domain to evict residents, with the promise of new housing… except that the housing is the last part of the project, and is now not expected for YEARS!

That the Yankees and Mets, who made $636M last year combined, and were playing in serviceable, if old, stadiums, got almost $2B combined in total taxpayer money, is ridiculous.

I live in Brooklyn, I love the Mets' new park, and I'm a lifelong Mets fan. Doesn't make it any less of a waste of money.
posted by mhz at 11:23 AM on June 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


Politicians spend money foolishly, news at 11.

this is probably an endless and senseless discussion.. In every state, in every city there are pressing human needs. In every state, in every city there are taxpayer $$s being used for sports/art/recreation/music/museums/aquariums/zoos/etc. In every state, in every city politicians spend your money based on pressure/donations/funding/threats from corporations and the rich.

Welcome to the United State...
posted by HuronBob at 11:26 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Every time I hear another dismal report about how Greece is going to drag the whole world into an economic abyss, I ask out loud: Does anybody remember that it was only six years ago when Athens was the proud host of the Summer Olympics? -- NPR's Deford On South Africa, but I think it applies to all major sports park investments.

Another question on sporting-related costs: how much does it cost to rename a sports arena? And do the naming companies get anything beyond advertisement every time someone mentions the full stadium name?
posted by filthy light thief at 11:27 AM on June 3, 2010


Does anyone know an objective source that could tell me how much revenue on average teams whose stadiums are built with public funding return to the cities they're in?

I don't know if there can ever be any truly objective studies on the matter, since they all seem to rely on "multipliers" to gauge the return a new stadium generates.
So depending on which multiplier you pick, your new stadium will either be the worst money drain since the Montreal Olympics or a shining jewel in a revitalized downtown.

I do know that for your average, casual sports fan, the result is rarely cheaper or even same-priced tickets. New stadiums always seem to have a higher price-tag just for entry.
posted by madajb at 11:28 AM on June 3, 2010


add an "s" to the end of my comment, please
posted by HuronBob at 11:28 AM on June 3, 2010


How far can we, as a society, be be from Christians Muslims and lions?
posted by Danf at 11:33 AM on June 3, 2010


i think about how muich food and shelter (and mental health care) that would be for the all the homeless people living under the bridges near the stadium.

You can apply this argument to nearly anything and anyone. OMG, you are posting on a computer!
posted by smackfu at 11:34 AM on June 3, 2010


How far can we, as a society, be be from Muslims and lions?

Anyone who's ever seen Detroit play will tell you that those Muslims have got nothing to worry about. Nobody's scared of the Lions.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 11:42 AM on June 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


i guess i could, except that the homelessness near the stadium is very very apparent. just makes it more tangible association for me, i guess.
posted by sio42 at 11:42 AM on June 3, 2010


Ah, I see I could have saved my post; the video makes all of my points. This just hits home especially hard… I've taken the wrong turn trying to get back on the GCP from Citi/Shea, and ended up on those streets in Willets Point. I ride along the perimeter of Atlantic Yards every day, and occasionally walk or drive it.
posted by mhz at 11:43 AM on June 3, 2010


Texas state government to contribute $25 million for construction of a Formula 1 track while cutting $3.5 million from a fund assisting low-income families with chronically ill children.

So much for the pan. At least we still have the circum.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:48 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


What really adds insult to injury is the stupid corporate names. It's like the ads before the movie you're paying $10 to see. It would go a long way if we got to name the things we're paying for.

"Welcome to beautiful Taxpayer Park, where the hometown..."
"If the bleachers here at old Extortion Field could talk, they'd have some tales to tell..."
"The lights are on here at the Corporate Welfare Dome for tonight's lineup..."
posted by ecurtz at 11:52 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


At least in DC, Nationals stadium resulted in about 2/3rds of the city's underground and gay dance clubs being torn down, since they were all in the Navy Yard Neighborhood. It's all highrises now.
posted by empath at 12:00 PM on June 3, 2010


filthy light thief: "Another question on sporting-related costs: how much does it cost to rename a sports arena? And do the naming companies get anything beyond advertisement every time someone mentions the full stadium name?"

Since TD Banknorth took over the naming rights for Boston's Fleet Center, they have filled the newly renovated waiting area with TD Bank ATMs with really large fees for non-TD Bank customers, and they have purchased ads that cover entire train car exteriors. I doubt the revenue from the ATM fees is as big a deal as the added profile. Things have improved at the train station quite a bit since TD bought the naming rights, although I don't know how much of that is financed by the actual owners of the property and/or the MBTA.
posted by mkb at 12:09 PM on June 3, 2010


This is one of my pet peeves. That, and any city's desire to be known as "world class."
posted by maxwelton at 12:09 PM on June 3, 2010


@empath: To be fair, it also resulted in 2/3 of the city's underground crack dens being torn down as well. Navy Yard isn't exactly a bustling metropolis, and although it's lamentable to lose old buildings and businesses, very little of that area was salvageable.

The verdict's still out on the Nationals Park -- a disgusting amount of money got spent on it, and I can think of several dozen higher priorities for DC. Development in the area hasn't quite materialized, most likely thanks to the real estate bubble, but there's still a lot of potential, and a few projects in planning. On the other hand, the Verizon Center has been quite successful for DC, and spurred an incredible amount of development around Chinatown, and has added enough "value" to the area to potentially justify its costs through increased tax revenues.

(Of course, the Verizon Center only cost 1/3 as much, which is a pretty important distinction to make)
posted by schmod at 12:14 PM on June 3, 2010


Verizon Center? Ah someone shoot me now. Most obvious and deplorable corporate welfare there is, this whole stadiums scam. Also, Fuck Bruce Rattner, Jay-Z, Michael Bloomberg and Markie "Curly" Markowitz and fuck the NETS for finally getting the green light (through use of eminent domain) to destroy downtown Brooklyn with what's sure to be a sterile ghost town filled with drunk Basketball fans pissing all over the fucking place so that a billionaire developer with City Hall and Albany in his pocket can make more millions. Nets will never be 'the new Brooklyn Dodgers."

No I'm not bitter or angry though....
posted by Skygazer at 12:43 PM on June 3, 2010


Verizon Center was paid for almost entirely by the owner of the Wizards (and at the time the Capitals as well) Abe Polin. That man took it upon himself to build a downtown stadium at a time when many of the areas were still being built out in the suburbs and created the catalyst for the revival of that part of DC. There are many examples of tax payer funded boondogles for very rich sports owners (Navy Yard is one of them, but it is a beautiful stadium that I believe will one day anchor a revitalized waterfront in DC), but Verizon Center is not one of them.
posted by BobbyDigital at 1:16 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nets will never be 'the new Brooklyn Dodgers."

The New Jersey Nets?
They're moving to Brooklyn?

Are they going to rename themselves to the Americans again?
posted by madajb at 1:42 PM on June 3, 2010


Lady Gaga will disappear from metafilter before major sports tycoons stop sucking from the public treasury.
posted by bukvich at 2:15 PM on June 3, 2010


To zarq. I'm an economist and have done some research on the impact of stadium construction. In short most economists agree that the revenue generated from new stadiums or mega events like the olympics, super bowl, or All Star game generally are less than the impact on the economy.

I would suggest this article that is a review by two of the top sports economists on the subject.
posted by akabobo at 2:18 PM on June 3, 2010


madajb: Are they going to rename themselves to the Americans again?

Why do that if you can bring back the storied history (and tricoloured basketballs, and short short shorty shorts) of the New York Nets?

Or maybe the Brooklyn Americans can finally play their games in Brooklyn, unlike the previous beskated incarnation:
At wit's end, Dutton changed the team's name for the 1941–42 NHL season to the Brooklyn Americans. He had every intent on moving the team to Brooklyn, but due to a lack of a decent arena, the Brooklyn Americans continued to play their home games in Manhattan at Madison Square Garden while practicing in Brooklyn. They barely survived the season, finishing with a record of 16-29-3.
posted by hangashore at 3:35 PM on June 3, 2010


Worth pointing out that the Knicks have been in the same arena since the 60's and it ain't got no sponsors name before it.
posted by i_cola at 4:00 PM on June 3, 2010


Mild grump (not at unsupervised): I wish Vimeo allowed us to download this film. I'd love to watch it on my TV instead of my laptop.

Also, two words about selling stadium naming rights: Enron Field. Sometimes that big company name isn't all it's cracked up to be.
posted by immlass at 4:22 PM on June 3, 2010


i_cola: Worth pointing out that the Knicks have been in the same arena since the 60's and it ain't got no sponsors name before it.

Well, they did throw $200 million in renos at MSG twenty years ago, and plan to spend another $850 mill at it in the next few, so they'd be nuts to move. Plus the Garden owns the Knicks (and Rangers) so there's that.

This also seems to be one of those cases where the existing brand is far stronger than any potential corporate-named replacement. Same with Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park - imagine if the hated Yanks were now playing at Coca-Cola Field, or Microsoft Center. Something I wish had been realized when they tore the old NHL buildings down; the power of names like the Chicago Stadium, Boston Garden, Montréal Forum, or even the Philadelphia Spectrum to tap into the long histories of these franchises. Instead, the present Cup final is being played at the United Center and the Wachovia* Center. Buildings named after a bank and an airline. Two of our favourite things.

*I loved that the previous name of Wachovia Center was the First Union Center, and mourned the loss of that acronym.
posted by hangashore at 7:05 PM on June 3, 2010


DO NOT GET ME STARTED on the Atlantic Yards project. That's about a ten-minute walk from me. And do you know where the resultant traffic is going to back up into? My neighborhood.

And that's the complaint that I have remaining after you set aside all of the OTHER things wrong with this idea.

(I know a lot about the fight against Atlantic yards; a good friend of mine has been very active in the protests, and was in fact the person who ended up being the one arrest police made at the groundbreaking ceremony. ...His only charge was "playing a drum." I kid you not.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:35 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Atlantic Yards project is a travesty, bristling with graft, pork, setbacks, and something for everyone except, you know, the local residents, the taxpayers, justice or any of those sort of things...

I predicted that most of the promised housing would get vanished, and you know, it already did. Now I'm predicting there's a good chance that not a single affordable housing unit gets built.

If we had a functioning legal and justice system that worked against the rich, if the people had any ability to find out what was going on and who was collecting illegal money, there would be hundreds of people going to jail over this.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:39 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lady Gaga will disappear from metafilter before major sports tycoons stop sucking from the public treasury.

Done and...done!
posted by hell toupee at 6:15 AM on June 4, 2010


Well, they did throw $200 million in renos at MSG twenty years ago, and plan to spend another $850 mill at it in the next few, so they'd be nuts to move. Plus the Garden owns the Knicks (and Rangers) so there's that.

Although right up until they announced those new renovations, they were planning to move MSG across the street into the Farley Post Office. It was a done deal for a while.
posted by smackfu at 6:21 AM on June 4, 2010


charred husk and akabobo, thank you.
posted by zarq at 8:04 AM on June 4, 2010


Worth pointing out that the Knicks have been in the same arena since the 60's and it ain't got no sponsors name before it.

It was really convenient that the block it's on was completely empty when they built it, too.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 2:45 PM on June 8, 2010


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