Hometown Pride: Financing Big League Arenas

Jan 19, 2017

With guest host Jane Clayson.

Sports teams spending money on glitzy stadiums. Who really benefits and who should pay for them?

In a time when owners of professional teams are asking fans to foot the bill for glitzy stadium renovations, the residents of San Diego said no. They won’t pay for a new stadium. So the owner announced last week that he’s taking the team to Los Angeles. It’s all part of a trend of owners moving big league teams to markets that will pay billions more. Up next, On Point: Paying to play. Who benefits, and who should pay?


Ken Belson, national NFL reporter for the New York Times, covering the social, legal and financial aspects of the league. (@el_belson)

Andrew Zimbalist, sports economist and professor of economics at Smith College. Author of “Circus Maximus,” “Unwinding Madness” and many more.

Sen. David Holt (R-OK), Oklahoma State Senator for the state’s 30th district. Former assistant to Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett. Author of “Big League City.” (@davidfholt)

Thomas Bateman, lifelong Los Angeles Rams fan who created and managed a Facebook page devoted to bringing the Rams back to the city of Los Angeles.

From The Reading List

New York Times: Building a Stadium, Rebuilding a Neighborhood — “Stadiums and arenas on their own are rarely economic engines, though some are part of larger developments, like Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco Giants are also very involved in their communities. Blank, though, is using philanthropy on a large scale as a development tool, something that could make the Westside safer and more prosperous, but could also benefit his stadium.”

The Guardian: How American sports franchises are selling their cities short — “The story in Detroit has played out in almost every American metropolis, at least those that crave to be a ‘major-league’ city. For decades, sports franchises have leveraged hometown pride and promises of economic spin-offs to garner billions in government handouts for stadium construction. Such megaprojects typically produce far fewer tangible benefits than advertised. And they siphon public funds away from other programmes. Still, extraordinarily wealthy franchise owners – a tiny group of athletic oligarchs – continue to bend American cities to their will.”

Los Angeles Times: Los Angeles Rams break ground on $2.6-billion Inglewood stadium, ‘new era’ of NFL — “On a piece of land that’s 3½ times the size of Disneyland, the stadium will be surrounded by a development that includes a performance venue, hotel, hundreds of thousands of square feet for retail and offices, homes and a lake with waterfalls. ‘We had to get it right and this is getting right,’ Goodell said of the NFL’s return to Los Angeles after a two-decade absence.”

Closing Segment on the NFL Playoffs

David Steele, senior writer at The Sporting News, covering the NFL (@David_C_Steele)

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