Here we go again.
The Texas Rangers have decided that their stadium, Global Life Park, is obsolete and needs to be replaced.
The thing is... the stadium was built in 1994. It's barely graduated college! For perspective, there are more than 14 million vehicles still on the road that are older than it. Just look at this beauty:
This would all be amusing if the team weren't trying to coax the good people of Arlington into footing half of the $900 million price tag. We've never met a sports fan who relishes the chance to give billionaire owners their hard-earned tax dollars. Especially when those same owners set outrageously-high ticket, concessions, and parking prices. Especially when these stadiums provide little, if any, benefit to the community once built.
Naturally the City Council has unanimously approved the plan, and now it'll be voted on by the city's residents. And since new stadiums with retractable roofs are cool and shiny, they'll probably approve the plan -- even though it's pretty much undeniable that these kinds of public-funding arrangements are always a bad deal for the taxpayers. Not only do they never result in any real benefits for the fans (no cheaper tickets or concessions, no expanded TV coverage, nothing that makes the fan experience any better), the promise of a widespread economic boom is always massively overstated.
Here's the key finding from the seminal study on the matter:
A new sports facility has an extremely small (perhaps even negative) effect on overall economic activity and employment. No recent facility appears to have earned anything approaching a reasonable return on investment. No recent facility has been self-financing in terms of its impact on net tax revenues. Regardless of whether the unit of analysis is a local neighborhood, a city, or an entire metropolitan area, the economic benefits of sports facilities are de minimus.
So a family of fans needs to take out a loan to afford the gameday experience of their favorite team, and it's no easier to find that team on TV, AND the economic benefits are best summed up as "your tax dollars go into the pocket of the owner." That's a raw deal, and so long as this remains true, we should oppose taxpayer-funded stadiums.
We need to start sticking up for ourselves and speaking out against these money-grabs. Billionaire owners can pay for their own stadiums without taxpayers footing the bill. If they want our money, they should do more for fans. If you're ready to stand up, join the Sports Fans Coalition.