Why Do We Keep Using Public Money to Fund Private Stadiums?

This week on ‘Schtick to Sports’ podcast, the panel looks at what’s behind the recent stadium construction boom, upcoming battles over stadium financing, and whether or not public money should be used to build billionaire playgrounds.

The year was 1950, and the city of Milwaukee had tried everything to get their hands on a professional baseball team. But after several failed attempts at landing an expansion franchise, and being repeatedly rebuked by Major League Baseball teams looking to relocate, city council decided to go ahead and build a multi-purpose sports stadium anyway, even without the guarantee that an MLB team would play there.

Meanwhile, up in Boston, the Boston Braves were facing dwindling attendance numbers, and found themselves no longer able to compete with their crosstown rivals, the Red Sox. So in 1953, when construction finished on Milwaukee County Stadium , the city offered Braves owner Lou Perini a deak he couldn’t turn down — come to Milwaukee and play in our stadium, rent-free. The Braves left Boston, and in the process, ushered in the era of publicly-funded stadiums.

On this week’s episode of Schtick to Sports, the GSC panel looks at the recent boom in stadium construction, what led to taxpayers sinking over 6.7 billion into stadium projects since 2000, and whether or not there’s any value in publicly subsidizing billionaire playgrounds.

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Show notes:

  • What is the process for teams to secure public funding for new stadiums?
  • What is causing the boom in stadium construction over the last two decades?
  • What are some of the looming battles over publicly-funded stadiums?
  • Several studies have shown that publicly-funded stadiums rarely bring-in the economic benefits that they claim. How do sports teams keep getting away with this sales pitch?
  • What are some of the worst examples of teams using public-funding to build their stadiums?
  • What should cities be looking for when they’re negotiating with teams over new stadium deals?

Notable mentions:

Jeffrey Loria | Dean Spanos | Naheed Nenshi | Derek Jeter | Roger Goodell

Additional Reading:


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