The Stadium Boondoggle

(Page 2 of 2)

But teams can't honestly cry "poverty." In the National Football League's 1994 and 1995 seasons, the Dallas Cowboys generated more than $75 million in revenues from luxury seating alone in aging Texas Stadium.

The Cleveland Cavaliers of the National Basketball Association received $17 million in luxury-seating revenues in the 1995-96 season, their first in Gund Arena. And baseball's Atlanta Braves may get as much as $100 million from ticket, concession and parking sales at Turner Field this season.

To be sure, not every franchise may be successful at the box office. But that's more a reflection of team management than market size or age of a sports facility.

If teams in such second-tier cities as Dallas, Cleveland and Atlanta can raise hefty amounts of cash from ticket, parking and concession sales, then why subsidize any of them a penny?

The answer is a sure bet: because politicians become even more spineless when the local team threatens to leave, and because owners know they can always find a sucker somewhere else.

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