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Major League Sports Subsidies – The Facts

| Blog | September 12, 2013

Major League Sports Subsidies

Major League Sports Subsidies – Corporate Welfare – The Public Gets Scammed

Public subsidies for stadiums are a great deal for team owners, league executives, developers, bond attorneys, construction firms, concessionaires and politicians. They are NOT a good deal for the taxpayers. Major League Sports Subsidies – the facts

Yet the amount of public money being spent on major league sports subsidies continue to rise. Urban planner Judith Grant Long, cites in her book Public-Private Partnerships for Major League Sports Facilities that cities, states and counties spent a record $6.5 billion on stadiums and arenas in the 1990s, and then ballooned  to $10.1 billion in the 2000’s. And in addition more major league sports subsidies like lease breaks, property tax exemptions and the use of tax-exempt government bonds, have added at least another 10 percent to the public’s expense.

Fearing losing a team, local politicians offer major league sports subsidies incentives because of the leagues’ government approved monopolies over franchise location. because can choose new cities but cities can’t choose new teams because thanks to — mayors feel they must offer owners anything they want.

In reality losing a team, though, is extremely rare.

Cities eager to support these major league sports subsidies produce glowing “economic impact studies” , to elicit public support. Yet, most economists agree that these reports are untrue. Download reports at the end of this article Major League Sports Subsidies – the facts

Kevin Delaney and Rick Eckstein have written a book called Public Dollars, Private Stadiums, which provides an eye-opening account of recent battles over publicly financed stadiums in some of America’s largest cities. Their interviews with the key decision makers present a behind-the-scenes look at how and why powerful individuals and organizations foist these sports palaces on increasingly unreceptive communities.

While elected officials have gotten smarter about rejecting major league sports subsidies, these teams continue to come up with new ways to get subsidies on the backs of taxpayers. Originally major league sports subsidies came in the form of cash for construction costs, but now are in the form of tax breaks, free land, government-subsidized tax-free loans, or discounts to offset operating and maintenance costs. Judith Grant Long, found that these subsidies added 0n average 40 percent more the actual cost to taxpayers.

Major League Sports Subsidies – the facts. Much of dollars generated by the teams does not stay in the local economy. Concessionaires usually are not local companies and athletes do not live local. Entertainment dollars spent on professional sports depletes income for other local entertainment where the dollars stay in the community to create more jobs and increase local tax revenue.

Why does the public buy into these major league sports subsidies to wealthy team owners while, citizens go unemployed, folks go without healthcare, families go hungry, working mothers need affordable daycare., city streets and roads go un-repaired… the list goes on and on.

Elected officials MUST begin to say NO to major league sports subsidies.

Download these studies

coateshumphreys-com Econ Journal Watch,bVolume 5, Number 3, September 2008, pp 294-315. 
Do Economists Reach a Conclusion?
Dennis Coates1 and Brad R. Humphreys2 Download


The Economics of Sports Facilities and Their Communities Journal of Economic Perspectives—Volume 14, Number 3—Summer 2000—Pages 95–114
John Siegfried and Andrew Zimbalist  Download

Watch These Videos

Rogel Noll – “The Economics and Politics of Stadium Subsidies in Pro Sports”

Stanford economics professor emeritus Roger Noll gave the 2010 Kim Thomas Interdisciplinary Lecture on Thursday, October 21 in A.J. Villalobos Hall.

Noll’s research focuses on the economics of sports and entertainment, antitrust and regulation, the economics of public law, and technology policy. He is the author or co-author of twelve books and over three hundred articles and reviews. Noll has done consulting work for the Los Angeles Lakers, NFL Players Association, NBA Players Association, NCAA, Major League Baseball Players Association, United State Football League, Minnesota Twins, Oakland Raiders, and Major League Soccer Players Association.

The Kim Thomas Interdisciplinary Lecture Series is sponsored by the Department of Economics in support of the Liberal Education Program theme “Connections.” The series is funded by a gift from Paul Thomas and the Intel Corporation in recognition of the contributions to the college and community by former Whittier College professor Kim Thomas.

Stadiums and Subsidies? John Stossel


The Economics Of Sports Stadiums – Brian Stossel 
Examining the economics of sports stadiums and large events claimed to have a positive impact on the local economy.

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