Cities to Sports Teams: Good Riddance
Earlier this year I wrote a feature on baseball stadium financing, with the premise that it's getting harder for teams to win funding from state ...
Earlier this year I wrote a feature on baseball stadium financing, with the premise that it's getting harder for teams to win funding from state and local governments.
As I saw it, public officials and the public themselves are increasingly aware that baseball teams almost never switch towns (only the Montreal Expos have in the last three decades). Therefore, the "Give us a new stadium or else" threats of owners are beginning to fall on deaf ears.
However, this premise is questionable from a couple of directions. Since I wrote my article, Minnesota culminated a fifteen-year debate by signing off on a new stadium for the Twins, showing, perhaps, that public financing still has some life yet.
Perhaps more interestingly, though, I may have overestimated the extent to which opposition to public funding for stadiums hinges on the perception that the team is staying in town no matter what.
In fact, last week Seattle voters overwhelmingly supported a measure to restrict public financing of sports venues. They knew full well that their vote would mean that the local NBA team, the Supersonics, would leave, but didn't care.
Similarly, some San Franciscans, including Mayor Gavin Newsom, were shocked to hear last week that their NFL team, the 49ers, is likely moving to Santa Clara. But they weren't so shocked as to rethink their opposition to public funding for stadium construction.
These two examples reflect another trend too. More and more, opposition to sports stadiums is coming from the left, as much as the right. Historically, fiscal conservatives and many economists have seen public funding for sports venues as a poor investment. Critics on the left now share their view.
Why, they wonder, should the government be giving millions to wealthy owners when the money could be spent on social services for the poor?
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
Virginia Governor Restores 13,000 Felons' Voting Rights, This Time One by One10 hours ago
Big Transit Plans Go Before Voters in November11 hours ago
In Closely Watched Case Around U.S., California Teachers Unions Get a Major Victory14 hours ago
Video Release of Milwaukee Police Shooting Delayed15 hours ago
Michigan State Police Lab Mishandled 4,000+ Alcohol Tests15 hours ago
Despite California's Strict Law, Thousands Start School Unvaccinated15 hours ago