TribLIVE

| Home


Weather Forecast
 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Stadiums' cost $10B higher than thought, Harvard researcher says

About The Tribune-Review
The Tribune-Review can be reached via e-mail or at 412-321-6460.
Contact Us | Video | Photo Reprints

Daily Photo Galleries


By Bloomberg News

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, 7:34 p.m.

NEW YORK — Taxpayers spent about $10 billion more on stadiums and arenas for professional sports teams than they forecast, according to a new book by Harvard University urban planning associate professor Judith Grant Long.

The costs of land, infrastructure, operations and lost property taxes add 25 percent to the taxpayer bill for the 121 sports facilities in use during 2010, increasing the average public cost by $89 million to $259 million, up from $170 million commonly reported by the sports industry and media, she writes in the book “Public/Private Partnerships for Major League Sports Facilities.”

The book, released last month by Routledge, aims to help governments and taxpayers to reduce hidden subsidies to team owners by allowing them to compare stadium deals for their cities against those elsewhere. The average public-private partnership worked out to cost cities 78 percent and the teams 22 percent, she wrote.

“Given that popular reports set expectations of more or less equal partnerships between host cities and teams, these estimates of public cost indicate that the public/private partnerships underlying these deals are in fact highly uneven,” wrote Long, an associate professor at Harvard's graduate school of design.

Long's analysis added costs such as those for land, infrastructure and lost tax revenue, while subtracting money that flows back to states or cities from revenue or rent payments.

“Professional sports stadiums are as close as you can get to a controlled experiment in urban design,” she said.

The public is at a disadvantage in negotiating those deals with sports teams and leagues, which have a monopoly on the supply of franchises and opaque finances, Long writes. The total cost of sport facilities has received little attention from researchers in part “because most economic analyses demonstrate that sports facilities produce very few or no net new economic benefits relative to construction costs alone, and so, in this sense, more accurate cost estimates would only serve to reinforce a case already made.”

Long concludes that, regardless of profit-sharing or rent, “public partners should avoid paying building costs.”

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Pirates should exploit free-swinging Brewers
  2. Patience pays off as starting pitcher Volquez gets 1st win for Pirates
  3. Bassist McBride stresses attitude for jazz hopefuls
  4. Greensburg high school roundup: Yough softball defeats Belle Vernon in 10 innings
  5. Undersized rookie Gibbons is blur on ice for Penguins
  6. Daily News roundup: TJ edges Southmoreland in Section 3
  7. Penguins’ Bylsma and Blue Jackets’ Richards know each other well
  8. Body found on train tracks in West End
  9. Pens insider: Penalty killing a concern in Stanley Cup playoffs
  10. Pirates notebook: Tabata OK’d to return to play
  11. Police see no sign Franklin Regional stabbing suspect was bullied
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.