Daniel C. Vock writes for Stateline about the fact that NFL teams, and the stadiums they use, are often receiving substantial subsidies from local and state governments:
Yes, after a timeout for the recession, the National Football League is back in the game of getting public money to pay for better stadiums. In many cases, teams want to replace or renovate stadiums finished during a 1990s sports construction boom.
“We had a real lull from the beginning of the Great Recession,” said Victor Matheson, an economics professor at Holy Cross who studies sports. “Just in the last year, however, we’ve seen the tide turn… We have a little bit of a backlog, so you’re seeing a bunch of stadiums on the table now.”
Matthew Mitchell and Christopher Koopman of the Mercatus Center wrote an article in US News about the tax preferences that benefits college athletic programs:
So why do politicians continue to hand out these privileges? One answer is that sports teams are well-connected and well-organized, giving them an inherent lobbying advantage over a multitude of unorganized taxpayers. Another explanation is that people love sports – especially their home team – and politicians are eager to associate themselves with anything popular.
This same explanation accounts for why politicians have gone out of their way in recent years to privilege another popular industry: Film production. The vast majority of states now offer a spate of tax credits, exemptions, and subsidies to production companies that film on location.
John F Trent writes at the FreedomWorks blog about recent sports cronyism in Virginia, and offers their solution instead.
Instead of fostering an environment of corporate handouts, government should instead offer a different type of incentive as an alternative to providing direct cash infusion. Government should lower taxes and regulations for businesses to begin construction, as well as make it easier to obtain the proper permits and zoning licenses. By fostering a business-friendly environment, businesses will begin to relocate to those areas without direct incentives from government.
Jim Morrill at the Charlotte Observer writes about a piece of legislation in North Carolina that would use public money to fund a professional sports team.
The bi-partisan bill would allow the city of Charlotte to use local taxes earmarked for the convention center to help upgrade Bank of America Stadium…
“There are a lot of people in the state who have a problem with what is happening in professional sports, the NFL in particular,” said Rep. Bert Jones, a Reidsville Republican. “The NFL is big money, let’s face it.”
Rep. Paul Luebke, a liberal Democrat from Durham, called the bill “corporate welfare.”
“This is welfare for a major, profitable corporation,” he said.
A story in the NY Post discussed how a new deal with the Buffalo Bills gives the state an entire luxury suite.
[It] turns out that the state now has an arrangement with the Buffalo Bills for a whole luxury suite. It’s described in documents as the I ♥ NY Hospitality Center, and it will be used by the Empire State Development Corp. to wine and dine potential investors.
The luxury box is one small part of a corporate-welfare deal meant to keep the Bills in upstate New York. Under this agreement, the state will pay roughly $54 million to finance upgrades for Ralph Wilson Stadium, which is owned by Erie County. The taxpayers of Erie will cough up another $41 million.
The News Herald in Florida published an editorial arguing against subsidies for sports stadiums:
If Northwest Florida residents are putting money in the pockets of South Florida professional sports teams, it should be because they voluntarily bought a ticket to the game, not because they were forced to subsidize wealthy owners with their tax dollars…
The problem with [the theory that sports subsidies help the economy] is that there is scant evidence that such economic benefits actually occur. Numerous studies done over the last 25 years have found that professional sport teams have little, if any, positive effect on a city’s economy. Usually, a new team or a new stadium location doesn’t increase the amount of consumer spending, it merely shifts it away from other, already existing sources. Entertainment dollars will be spent one way or another whether a stadium exists or not. Plus, the increase in jobs is often modest at best — nowhere near enough to offset the millions invested in the projects.
Bill Faries writes an article in Bloomberg about a feud over who will pay for improvements to a football stadium used by the Miami Dolphins:
Billionaires Norman Braman and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross are battling over whether state taxpayers should pay almost half the cost of a $400 million plan to fix up the football team’s home field…
“This is welfare for a multibillionaire,” Braman, 80, said in an interview in his Miami office. Ross and National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell are playing a “nefarious game,” he said.
Travis Waldron at Think Progress wrote about the corporate welfare behind the stadium used for this year’s Super Bowl:
The tenth Super Bowl played in New Orleans, and the first since Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005, will kickoff in a stadium that has received more than $470 million in public support since the storm, as taxpayers have footed the bill for renovations and upgrades in the face of threats from ownership and the National Football League to move the team to another city.
Josh Katzowitz writes an article at CBS Sports about a recent deal to keep the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, North Carolina. A substantial portion of the cost is going to be borne by the taxpayers in the city:
With Los Angeles still looking for a team to move to town — the Chargers seem to be the best bet, but they’re still locked down in San Diego for the 2013 season — you can cross yet another potential franchise off the list.
That would be the Panthers — who have won concessions from the Charlotte City Council, which will invest $143.75 million during the next 15 years for upgrades to Bank of America Stadium, according to the AP.
The Miami Dolphins are seeking a touch-down on behalf of corporate welfare. Michael Mayo, Sun Sentinel columnist, reports how seeking corporate welfare turned now into a serious professional sport.
“The Miami Dolphins have gone fishing again, seeking as much as $187 million in public money to refurbish their private stadium, and the bait is on the hook. Super Bowls! College football championship games! A new big-time international soccer event during summer’s dog days! Tourists! Jobs! Purported economic benefit for the whole South Florida region!”.