The old “I’m going to move my professional sports team franchise if you don’t give me a stadium” scam has been pretty well covered in the mainstream media. I’ll give credit to the folks over at here“>Deadspin for consistently beating the drum on this topic.
While there are numerous mainstream sources on this topic, I decided to dig a little deeper and look into more academically rigorous examinations of the citizenry-funded stadium experience. Public/Private Partnerships for Major League Sports Facilities by Judith Grant Long was an illuminating read.
Now, to be clear, this is most definitely, without a doubt, an academic publication. Long is Associate Professor of Urban Planning at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and this book is not a breezy “I wanted to see where our obsession began, so I met with John Doe, the guy who worked the first shift ever at Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium when it opened” kind of story. This is academic research for use by academics.
Having said that, the book is enjoyable to lay people. Full of hardcore research and digestible talking points (like the fact that taxpayers King County taxpayers were still paying for for the Kingdome even after it’s demolition), this book provides more substance and depth than the usual editorial on your local sports pages can.
In short, the next time someone says, “Yeah, but if we give a billionaire $500 million to build an architectural albatross, it will create 2.5 jobs for the Papa Johns vendors in the basement,” this book gives you the proof to rebut them. Public/Private Partnerships for Major League Sports Facilities is a robust examination of the true reasons why taxpayers shouldn’t give billionaires incentives for their stadiums.