Relocations are a way to manipulate a city for a new stadium
In 2013, Arthur Blank, the Atlanta Falcons’ owner, confirmed rumors that the franchise was interested in relocating to Los Angeles or the Atlanta suburbs. Instead, the Falcons will be unveiling a brand new stadium this fall. The newly-built Mercedes-Benz Stadium costs around $1.6 billion – taxpayers are on the hook for $700 million.
Marlins Park, which was completed in 2012, was initially projected to cost roughly $650 million. The city and Miami-Dade County will ultimately end up paying around $2 billion over the life of the bonds on the stadium. Owner Jeffrey Loria, who bought the team for $158 million in 2002, is expecting to sell the Marlins at the price of $1.2 billion.
The St. Louis Rams were worth $930 million in 2014. After discovering that the city of St. Louis couldn’t afford to help fund the $1 billion stadium that the Rams’ billionaire owner, Stan Kroenke, was attempting to build, the team relocated to Los Angeles. As of September 2016, the team was worth $2.9 billion. While Mr. Kroenke reaps the benefits of a massive market and future multi-billion dollar stadium, the city of St. Louis was left powerless.
(Valuations courtesy of Forbes)
$13 billion worth of bonds have been issued to pay for professional sports stadiums’ construction.Brookings Institute, 2016.
Stop the Taxpayer Funded Madness
As operators of a de facto cartel, teams provide no financial disclosures. Owners of these teams intentionally limit the number of teams, thus ensuring a supply shortage.
The reality of the situation is that taxpayers should never be put in a situation where their money is going directly toward a palatial facility that boosts the team’s value. While taxpayers suffer, billionaire owners are able to successfully profit off of the stadiums’ value.