Sports

Got Them Taxpayer-Funded, No-Revenue, Multimillion-Dollar Sports Stadium Blues

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Surprise! Those grand promises politicians and team owners made to taxpayers in their pitches for publicly-funded sports stadiums? They aren't panning out.

In Indianapolis, city and state officials are considering tax increases because brand-new Lucas Oil Field, home of the Colts (who got a sweetheart deal), is $25 million in the red, and projected to hit $45 million in coming years. Meanwhile, the Pacers are expected to exercise an option to renegotiate the terms of their lease on 10-year-old Conseco Fieldhouse. The team says their current business model "isn't viable." They pay one dollar per year to the city to rent the facility.

In D.C., the promised economic renaissance in the city's Southeast corridor that would be spurred by the $693 million-dollar, publicly-funded Nationals Stadium hasn't materialized either, even in a city largely immune to broader economic downturns. Office space around the park remains largely vacant.

But even if state governments eventually wise up to these ripoffs, there's always the feds. Just as things were looking gloomy for New Jersey Nets owner Bruce Ratner's plan to build a $4.2 billion, Frank Gehry-designed, mixed-use facility and basketball stadium in Brooklyn, Ratner found new hope: He has hired former Sen. Al D'Amato's lobbying firm to procure a cut of the stimulus package President Obama signed into law today.

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  1. Everyday, my bus goes by Target Field — scheduled to open in 2010 — and I think, I don’t care how much I’m paying for this in added sales tax. This place is awesome!

    And well planned too! Both the light rail and Northstar commuter trains pull right up to the stadium.

    http://www.ballparks.com/baseball/american/minbpk.htm

    http://www.ballparksofbaseball.com/future/TargetField.htm

  2. Civic pride! WooHoo!

    *whispers in ear*
    sucker

  3. Fuck those billionaire hobbyists and their millionaire minions.

    Fuck the politicians who approve these take from the poor and middle and give to the rich scams.

    Fuck the voters who elect those same politicians.

    I’m not in a clever mood today, but the outrage is still there.

  4. and I think, I don’t care how much I’m paying for this in added sales tax. This place is awesome!

    And I think, “Then get your checkbook out, and pay for it yourself, and keep your fucking grubby paws out of my pocket.”
    Fekkin’ eejit.

  5. “Fuck those billionaire hobbyists and their millionaire minions.

    Fuck the politicians who approve these take from the poor and middle and give to the rich scams.

    Fuck the voters who elect those same politicians.

    I’m not in a clever mood today, but the outrage is still there.”

    TESTIFY!!!

  6. And fuck Minneapolitan who apparently believes that he’s the only one paying that extra sales tax.

  7. The ants are slaves and the grasshoppers are in charge these days.

  8. if state governments eventually wise up

    They’re wisened just fine.

    They steal gigantic heaps of your money and give it to their campaign contributors, who funnel smaller giant heaps of it back to them like finder’s fees. Then it goes ’round again.

    There’s no part of that that’s not working.

  9. “And fuck Minneapolitan who apparently believes that he’s the only one paying that extra sales tax.”

    No, it’s anyone who buys anything in Hennepin County (excluding food and clothing, which are not taxed.

    So you’re opposed to public funding of buildings? Are you anti-Smithsonian Institutions? Do tell!

    BTW, I’m from DC. I just happen to live in Minneapolis at the moment.

  10. So you’re opposed to public funding of buildings? Are you anti-Smithsonian Institutions? Do tell!

    Duh

  11. God damn Coliseum

  12. I think Minneapolitan is winding you up, dudes.

  13. I think Minneapolitan is winding you up, dudes.

    Hence, the overly verbos “duh”.

  14. God damn Coliseum

    The Coliseum was built during Vespasian’s rule. Hence its real name being the Flavian Amphitheater.

  15. Far be from me to disagree with an attack by “Reason” magazine on our nation’s capital, but the link* that Radley provides to support his statement that “In D.C., the promised economic renaissance in the city’s Southeast corridor that would be spurred by the $693 million-dollar, publicly-funded Nationals Stadium hasn’t materialized either” actually states that “While the neighborhood is certainly undergoing a renaissance, what’s uncertain is how much credit should go to the ballpark” [Mark Yost, WSJ, July 2008].

    I’m against public funding for sports arenas, and in fact I’m pretty much against sports in general, except for the schadenfreude I get when the Redskins’ owner fails to win the Super Bowl (again). But at least our former mayor will be able to eat hot dogs and watch the Nats lose while hanging with his millionaire buddies in air-conditioned comfort. I mean, isn’t that worth something?

    *It’s a two-step link, going first to “Field of Schemes” and thence (as we say in the writing game) to the WSJ.

  16. “Duh”

    You’ve never heard of those Federally funded buidings in DC full of old shit from the past?

  17. Office space around the park remains largely vacant.

    Have they finished the 1/2 street development yet? It was still mostly a whole in ground when I went to see a game last summer.

    The whole M street cooridor is undergoing a prolonged renaissance thanks to the Green line and DC finally getting crime under control. The latest CRE slump will delay it, but as was noted, DC is the most likely of any area of the country for this slump to be very shallow and very short. And it’s also likely that when it comes back, boosters will credit the stadium vice the real reasons of the aforementioned new metro system and qol improvements.

  18. This is just too fucking easy.

    So you’re opposed to public funding of buildings?

    I’m OK with courts, jails, cop shops, city hall and other stuctures needed to support legitimate functions of government. Entertainment venues for mouth breathing jock worshippers doesn’t make the list.

    Are you anti-Smithsonian Institutions? Do tell!

    Nope. Like stadiums, I’m just against taxing people to pay for it.

    BTW, I’m from DC. I just happen to live in Minneapolis at the moment.

    Hope you enjoy your piece of shit Nationals stadium.

  19. Meanwhile, the Pacers are expected to exercise an option to renegotiate the terms of their lease on 10-year-old Conseco Fieldhouse. The team says their current business model “isn’t viable.” They pay one dollar per year to the city to rent the facility.

    I have a hard time believing that negotiating their rent down will turn around their business model. I do hope Reason gives us an update on just what their proposal will be.

  20. “I’m OK with courts, jails, cop shops, city hall and other stuctures needed to support legitimate functions of government”

    So basically your a law and order guy.

  21. you’re not your

  22. That’s certainly possible, Epi, but I heard so much of that moronic blather when Indianapolis was pulling the NewStadiumScam that it sounds like authentic Boosterism, to me.

  23. But at least our former mayor will be able to eat hot dogs and watch the Nats lose while hanging with his millionaire buddies in air-conditioned comfort. I mean, isn’t that worth something?

    Way to cut to the chase, Mister Vanneman.

  24. Can’t any of you realize how much worse the problem would be if we didn’t have public servants protecting us from the avarice of the billionaire owners and their corporate ass-buddies?

    Without state and local governments protecting the public, Indianapolis would become just another Bhopal.

  25. You’ve never heard of those Federally funded buidings in DC full of old shit from the past?

    In the spectrum of evil things that government does with citizens’ money, building public libraries, parks, and museums is on the “lessor evil” end of the scale.

    Building stadiums to support for-profit sports teams is well toward the “greator evil” end.

  26. Indianapolis made a big deal out of their plan to fund the stadium through restaurant, rental car, and hotel taxes; “other people’s money”. When it was suggested that there should be a tax on tickets, to obtain funds from the people who actually “benefit” from the stadium, the Colts and the NFL went nuts. That plan was dropped.

  27. Indianapolis made a big deal out of their plan to fund the stadium through restaurant, rental car, and hotel taxes; “other people’s money”.

    It’s easier to extort money from strangers than from friends.

  28. “Building stadiums to support for-profit sports teams is well toward the “greator (sic) evil” end.”

    How narrow minded. Stadiums, don’t just benefit “for-profit sports teams”.

    There is a brand new central library right outside of my office window (Frank Gehry-designed no less). Now THAT’S a waste of public money. It’s mostly just open space that’s about five stories high.

    Granted, more people will visit the ballpark in one weekend than will visit the central library in a month, but the homeless love the library so I guess it’s a lesser evil.

  29. Granted, more people will visit the ballpark in one weekend than will visit the central library in a month, but the homeless love the library so I guess it’s a lesser evil.

    Just another data point buttressing my assertation that American’s are too stupid for self-government.

  30. Am I the only one that thinks it is utterly stupid to waste millions not only on building stadiums But on paying athletes ridiculous amounts of money to “entertain us”. You get paid millions of dollars to miss a field goal kick, yet firemen, police, and even doctors, all of whom save lives, get paid much much less, and put forth much more risk.

  31. wald0, go fuck yourself.

  32. You get paid millions of dollars to miss a field goal kick . . .

    I never heard of anybody getting *millions* to throw a game by missing a kick. Have a linkie or summin?

  33. Re: Libraries < Stadiums

    Reading, facts and ideas are less important than watching juiced-up cretins pat each other on the ass.

  34. to procure a cut of the stimulus package President Obama signed into law today.

    I thought the stimulus had provisions specifcally precluding the use of it for stadiums, golf courses, and a few other miscelaneous things?

  35. Kolohe,

    What about malls and food courts that just happen to be in stadiums?

  36. “You get paid millions of dollars to miss a field goal kick, yet firemen, police, and even doctors, all of whom save lives, get paid much much less, and put forth much more risk.”

    Millions of people are not willing to pay to watch Dr. Smith debride a toenail.

  37. “Granted, more people will visit the ballpark in one weekend than will visit the central library in a month, but the homeless love the library so I guess it’s a lesser evil.”

    The people who visit the ballpark can pay for the ballpark. The same way that people who visit amusement parks pay for that, people who go to restaurants pay for their own meals, and people who go to movies pay for their own tickets. At least the library is subsidizing education, which is something that the government has some legitimate interest in promoting.

  38. Everyday, my bus goes by Target Field — scheduled to open in 2010 — and I think, I don’t care how much I’m paying for this in added sales tax. This place is awesome!

    Back when they were building the new stadium for the Brewers outside of Milwaukee, I would drive by it periodically and say “Nope, not spending a fucking nickel in Milwaukee County, because I don’t want to pay even one cent in tax money for that thing.”

    And I never did.

  39. “It’s easier to extort money from strangers than from friends.”

    It’s easier to extort from people who don’t vote in your elections. Unless that’s what you meant by “strangers”?

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