Football stadiums create jobs (on eight Sundays a year)

Travis Waldron of Think Progress reports on five cities considering public funding for new sports stadiums.

I’m all in favor of public funding for sports stadiums, but only when the public owns a stake in the team. Otherwise it’s a taxpayer subsidy of a private company that doesn’t need taxpayers’ help.

The worst offenders in Waldron’s article are Miami and Charlotte, who are considering funding for football stadiums.

The NFL has a 16-game regular season. That means eight home games. Eight. So yes, it’s true that public funding for a new football stadium helps to create jobs, but it helps to create jobs for eight days out of the year.

The job-creation argument is at least semi-plausible for a baseball stadium, which promises 81 or so home games every year. But eight days of job creation isn’t enough to justify public investment.

For the price of a football stadium you can build two libraries, each of which will employ people year-round and not just on eight Sundays.

* * * * * * * * *

Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee says there’s no need for an increase in the minimum wage, since she never struggled back when she was earning a minimum wage of only $2.15 an hour.

Trouble is, she forgot about that old debbil inflation, and didn’t seem to realize the $2.15 an hour she was getting paid in that worker’s paradise of Mississippi would in today’s dollars be worth significantly more than the wage Obama is calling for now. Even the minimum wage of $1.60 in 1968-70 was the equivalent of $10.56 today. So Blackburn was inadvertently making Obama’s point for him.

* * * * * * * * *

John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio, is pushing a tax plan that would cut taxes for the wealthy while raising them for the poor.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because the same idea is being pushed by Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Republican legislators in North Carolina, Republican Gov. Dave Heineman of Nebraska, and Republican Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas.

This is the redistribution of wealth. But these folks are perfectly fine with redistribution, as long as the Sheriff of Nottingham is in charge of it.

* * * * * * * * *

“Wow, this guy buys right into the deficit-scold mentality without really doing his homework: another leader who should know better is taking his cues straight from the GOP playbook.”

It is, indeed, perplexing to see someone obtusely complaining that insurance benefits the sick more than the healthy.

But in a sense he has done his homework. He has asked what it is that he must say in order to be initiated into the Sacred Order of Very Serious Persons. And then, as instructed, he has said it.

Disappointing.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    If job creation and community rejuvenation are your answers, Fred has your question. Why not repair the infrastructure?

     Unfortunately, we’ve heard the answer:  “Because SOCIALISM BAD”.  :-P

  • NarcissusThespiae

    I hear you. Though the financial sector sounds exactly like the labor-less space where money is printed dug up and then sat on. We are fast becoming the out there as the system closes ranks.

    It may be that our -isms and debates about what constitutes what exactly– is being grossly outpaced by the evolution of capitalism thru feudalism and mercantilism. Morphing like a virus. It isn’t exactly any of these things. Yet it contains all of them. 

    Governments owning financial stakes in business, in sectors and in the most important sector of all, the financial sector… What happens when big government is big business? We can call it whatever we like but that won’t change what it is.

    The analogy that may best help us see what is happening is the East India Trading Company. The company in service of the nation and the nation in service to the company. And if the shipping routes are digital than pirates will look less and less like Somalian fishermen and more like Anonymous.

  • Jurgan

    Our baseball field is used for all sorts of events, such as local music festivals.

  • http://www.nicolejleboeuf.com/index.php Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    The Louisiana Mercedes Benz Superdome gets used as a venue for stadium concerts, at least – and, in some years, the tourism-inducing Superbowl. So there’s that.

    I wish to the heavens that the Saints were owned by the town and not by Tom Benson, though. I hate that something so beloved by New Orleanians for generations is owned by, enriches primarily, and can be sold on, the whim of a single super-rich dude. Yes, I do hold a grudge for him considering doing just that in the wake of Katrina, why do you ask?

  • reynard61

    “The NFL has a 16-game regular season. That means eight home games. Eight. So yes, it’s true that public funding for a new football stadium helps to create jobs, but it helps to create jobs for eight days out of the year.”

    That actually depends on the type of stadium you build. Here in Hoosierland we have Lucas Oil Stadium which actually gets quite a workout through the off-season — usually with conventions, Monster Truck shows, the occasional NCAA March Madness tournament, etc. Maybe not the *best* use of that particular space, but it *is* put to use.

  • J_Enigma23

    Building stadiums with public money instead of repairing things that actually need to be repaired for the continuation of civilization?

    Now say it with me: Bread and Circuses.

     

  • Carstonio

    For me, naming rights for stadiums is symptomatic how much unwarranted control that corporations have, like a few steps away from having company towns again. Imagine municipalities and counties selling naming rights, or even states. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Tell me about it. Corporations are trying to intrude into every aspect of visible eye-space; advertising is seemingly everywhere now, and even previously unnamed landmarks now have corporate names on them.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    I just feel bad for Brockway, Ogdenville and North Haverbrook.

    Marge: But Main Street’s still all cracked and broken…
    Bart: Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken!
    All: Monorail!
    Monorail!
    Monorail!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_NR2MMC4EJXJWJMLH6IF457XL64 Alex B

    Well, that’s a great argument that libraries provide a higher QoL for YOU, certainly.

  • EllieMurasaki

    How does a stadium improve the quality of life for, uh, anyone who lives in the area and isn’t employed by the stadium? Bonus points if you show how it improves the quality of life for any such people who do not attend events at the stadium. And if you can show how a library disimproves the quality of life for anyone who lives in the area, as Lliira has already shown how a stadium disimproves the quality of life for anyone who lives in the area, then I’ll ask Lliira to provide the bonus points of how a library improves quality of life for people who live in the area and are neither employed by the library nor attend events or otherwise make use of same.

  • http://semperfiona.livejournal.com Semperfiona

     The worst thing about the fact that cities’ beloved NFL teams can be sold and moved at whim (or because the city doesn’t spend enough money on a shiny enough new stadium) is that the residents of the city can’t even join together to buy the team if they wanted to. The Green Bay Packers are owned by their fans (or close enough to it), true, but they’re grandfathered. The NFL owners have to approve any new ownership group, and they will not approve–I believe their bylaws say they’re not *allowed* to approve–a public ownership proposal.

  • Ursula L

    Also, while, yes, perhaps the stadium only directly employs people on 8 days out of the year (well, probably closer to 20, at least), the presence of a major sports franchise has an economic benefit to a region beyond just the days where stadium employees are employed.

    Does it?  Citation needed.  

    Because I’m living in a town with major sports teams, and I’ve not seen any benefits, beyond having traffic disrupted, and greatly decreased sales on game-days when I was working retail.

  • Ursula L

    The paper I linked argued that the improvement in QoL required to make stadiums worth public investment is equivalent to about one extra sunny day per year.

    So, a stadium has less of a benefit than global warming on my community?  

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross
  • Carstonio

    I thought Spurlock’s tactic was an amusingly ironic way of making his point about product placement. 

  • histrogeek

     Other solutions, like copyrighting the team name as Chicago has, pretty much don’t fly either. I would suggest that cities at least try to get that type of deal in exchange for whatever funding they cough up for the new, improved ultra-mega stadium. It’s the height of bullshit that teams extort stadiums then realize that maybe that they still can’t afford to stay.
    At least make the douchey owners serious rebuild their brand each time they do that.

  • reynard61
  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    shows that a sports franchise likely provides a boost in an area’s “quality of life” that may make public investment worth it.

    The San Francisco 49ers convinced the city of Santa Clara to build them a football field. It’s on the edge of Sunnyvale, which is going to bear the brunt of the traffic and parking (they aren’t adding enough parking, plus they’re *taking it away* from another venue) problems but had no say in the matter. Traffic in that area is already bad, so the only “quality of life” changes are going to be negative; the 49ers were already in the Bay Area so “introduction” doesn’t apply.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bill-McDonough/100001260964707 Bill McDonough

    Well, if we’re looking at Quality of Life improvements between libraries and stadiums, you also have to factor in the cost/benefit analysis.

    In other words…

    Renovation of an old National Guard Armory in order to establish the new home of the Nesconset Branch of the Smithtown Public Library here in New York (Suffolk County) cost $21 million.

    Construction of Metlife Stadium, the new home of the Giants and Jets in East Rutherford, NJ (roughly similar cost of living, same metro area) cost $1.6 billion.

    So, the question isn’t ‘does a library provide the same QoL improvement as a stadium?’, but rather ‘do 76 libraries provide the same QoL improvement as 1 stadium?’

    When you consider how easily the QoL improvements for 76 libraries can be targeted to communities in need of library access – and factor in the potential for those libraries to be part of an improvement in educational facilities directly, and not just ‘Public Libraries’, the answer starts to get very clear.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    It’s a little late, and everyone’s probably moved on from the thread, but I went and saw Morrissey play at the Staples Center last night and I wanted to comment on the mixed use of stadiums for concerts and other events. Staples is clearly designed as a basketball stadium, but to make use out of it the rest of the year when basketball isn’t being played, it’s often used as a concert venue.

    And its acoustics are horrendous. I couldn’t recognize songs I had heard a hundred times until halfway through. I ranted about it on Facebook, and everyone else I knew at the concert felt the same way. Others said they avoided seeing concerts at the center because the acoustics were so bad.

    So even the mixed use argument fails for me. Go figure, a sports arena doesn’t just magically double as a good concert venue.

  • Lori

    the presence of a major sports
    franchise has an economic benefit to a region beyond just the days where
    stadium employees are employed. 

    This is the theory, but everything I’ve read from people who have actually looked at the numbers says that reality almost never matches theory.

  • Lori

    The research outlined here, however, shows that a sports franchise
    likely provides a boost in an area’s “quality of life” that may make
    public investment worth it  

    I admit that I didn’t read the entire PDF in detail, but I don’t see how I’m supposed to take seriously research that claims that public expenditures on stadiums may be worth it because they increase quality of life by making sports fans happy.

  • P J Evans

     I think they design sports arenas so that the noise is increased. That way all the crowds sound larger than they actually are.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Also?

    Similar issues have come up every time a city starts planning and spending for an Olympics. A famous Canadian story is that Montreal went so in hock for the 1976 Olympics it only finally paid off the debt a few years ago.

    So, yeah, the jobs for building and construction are worthy and welcome, but ultimately transitory and the downstream benefits elusive.

    The problem is in curing politicians of their need for megaprojects to get a fast political boost.

  • Lori

    Well, that’s a great argument that
    libraries provide a higher QoL for YOU, certainly   

    Now I’m thinking that you’re joking. You are, right? That seems the only logical explanation for this comment, after you linked to research that defines QoL as “stuff that makes sports fans happy”.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    If anyone is interested, someone I know actually has  a book on the subject

  • Lori

     

    . Staples is clearly designed as a
    basketball stadium, but to make use out of it the rest of the year when
    basketball isn’t being played, it’s often used as a concert venue.

    And its acoustics are horrendous.
    I couldn’t recognize songs I had heard a hundred times until halfway through. I
    ranted about it on Facebook, and everyone else I knew at the concert felt the
    same way. Others said they avoided seeing concerts at the center because the
    acoustics were so bad.   

    Word.

    In the interest of fairness (or something), I’ll say three things.

    1) It really matters where your seats are. The sound on the front 2/3 of the floor is pretty good and if you’re front row center it’s fabulous. (I got to do that one time. It was glorious.) Being all the way in the back or way up on the sides is just bad.

    2) Some performers seem to fair better there than others. I don’t know if that’s because of differences in the music itself or if some groups have support staff who are just better at setting up a show there or what.

    3) The worst I ever experienced it at Staples was still better than the show I saw at Dodger stadium. Sound-wise that was not good and it was Springsteen so it’s not like it was folks who don’t know how to run a stadium show. Granted that was the tour supporting The Rising, which did not lend itself to a stadium show, but still.

  • Lori

    You know one of the authors? Cool. I’ve heard good things about the book, but haven’t had a chance to read it.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Yeah, Patti Smith played before Moz did last night and she definitely came out sounding way better. I at least had the consolation that – even though the guy I paid to see was ruined by the shoddy acoustics – I still got to see a pretty good Patti Smith concert. But a lot of people hadn’t filtered in yet (which, you know, their loss), and I think when the stadium was full the guy handling the sound just boosted everything up way past what the stadium could handle. So the guitars turned into white noise that overpowered anything else.

    I paid for some relatively expensive tickets, too, close to the front of the center section of stadium seating. So if the sound was so bad in my section, I can only imagine how terrible it was for people in the top.

  • Daughter

     I’ll take a stab at Ellie’s bonus question, just because I love libraries.

    A
    few years back, I read a lot of research indicating that the highest
    rates of crime occur between 2 and 6 PM – the hours in which teenagers
    are out of school, but many of their parents haven’t yet returned home
    from work.

    My local library has a teen section that offers
    homework help, a recording studio, and in-library use of a Wii and DS
    systems. A lot of teens hang out there, giving them a place to go after
    school and stay out of trouble.

    Do non-library users benefit of lower crime rates? Yes.

    My
    local library has free job search resources, teaches computer classes,
    and offers a variety of free workshops to job seekers. If those who
    avail themselves of those resources find jobs*, then they’ll contribute
    to the local economy with their income. Does that benefit non-users of
    the library? Yes.

    * I don’t know statistics about how many job
    seekers find jobs via library resources, but I can speak for myself;
    when I was unemployed and couldn’t afford home internet, I used the
    library not only for job searching, but for the part-time work I was
    doing while trying to stay active and build skills, such as contract
    grant-writing and tutoring).

    provide
    the bonus points of how a library improves quality of life for people
    who live in the area and are neither employed by the library nor attend
    events or otherwise make use of same. – See more at:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/02/27/football-stadiums-create-jobs-on-eight-sundays-a-year/comment-page-1/#disqus_thread
    provide
    the bonus points of how a library improves quality of life for people
    who live in the area and are neither employed by the library nor attend
    events or otherwise make use of same. – See more at:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2013/02/27/football-stadiums-create-jobs-on-eight-sundays-a-year/comment-page-1/#disqus_thread<


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