Sporting venues come in all shapes and sizes. Some are truly immense. Sports stadiums are often viewed as economic generators. There are researchers with surprising results and they point out that the evidence does not support this theory. Sports economists and policy analysts are using a variety of methods to get more precise estimates of the public-good benefits. In the future, we should know better whether these benefits are sufficient—in combination with private consumption benefits—to cover the public financing of professional sports stadiums.
Teams lease the government-owned buildings but pocket most of the revenues through their control of operating rights. As recent news articles have noted, new stadiums are a cash cow for teams. Team owners understand the profit potential of stadium sales. That’s why Major League Baseball insisted that the contract it signed with certain districts mandate that taxpayers provide “market-appropriate concession, entertainment and retail areas” inside the stadium. Competition from businesses outside the stadium would make the stadium less profitable to the team owners.
Sports franchises are generating tremendous amounts of revenue and requiring them to finance their own stadiums will remove the burden from the taxpayer. Taxpayers should be willing to treat sports franchises like the private business that they are. Sports events are designed for folks to eat and drink unhealthily while watching extremely fit athletes! But should you as a taxpayer pay for a private business?