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Study: Stadium Subsidies Score Harder Hits on Taxpayers
For Immediate Release October 30, 2007
Pete Sepp, (703) 683-5700
(Alexandria, VA) -- Yankees fans have double the reason to be jealous of Boston's sweeping World Series victory this year: Taxpaying fans at Fenway Park paid peanuts to build their ballpark compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars New Yorkers will shell out in subsidies for their new stadium. Stadium sticker shock isn't a new phenomenon by any means, but a study released today by the nonpartisan research arm of the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) illustrates some alarming trends in taxpayer subsidies and climbing construction costs.
"Publicly funded stadiums are, at best, an inefficient investment of taxpayer dollars for the meager benefits produced and, at worst, massive payments to rich team owners and players at the expense of ordinary taxpayers," said NTU Government Affairs Manager Andrew Moylan, who authored the study.
Average stadium construction costs have skyrocketed nearly 60 percent in inflation-adjusted terms from 1990 to 2004, according to the study, which analyzed 53 stadiums built during the 15-year period for use in one of the three most popular American leagues (Major League Baseball, the National Football League, and the National Basketball Association). The average stadium built from 1990 to 1992 cost $240.6 million in 2006 dollars, compared to $383.64 million for those built from 2002 to 2004. Among the study's other key findings:
Moylan's study paints a bleak picture of stadium funding's future plans to prey upon taxpayers: more extravagant, multibillion-dollar "redevelopment plans" with a stadium project or two tucked among the details of the blueprints. Unless taxpayers stand up against wealthy team owners with special-interest politicians in their pockets, sports complexes around the country will be speeding after the San Antonio Spurs, the basketball team that is on the verge of its third multimillion-dollar taxpayer-funded stadium plan in just over a decade.
The NTU Foundation (NTUF) is the research arm of the nonpartisan, nonprofit NTU, a citizen group founded in 1969. Note: NTUF Policy Paper 163, Stadiums and Subsidies: Home Run for Wealthy Team Owners, Strike-out for Taxpayers, is available online at www.ntu.org.