"If you watch football this weekend, recognize that most of the drama and meaning is taking place off the field. The way the college and pro games are built on subsidies and giveaways neatly encapsulates crony capitalism at its worst – and helps to explain why taxes go up even as it seems there’s never enough money for basic government functions."
And from Reason.com's interview with Charlotte native, J.C. Bradbury, PhD, Economics, Department Chair and Professor, Department of Exercise Science and Sport Management, Kennesaw State University and contributor to the Freakonomics Blog and author of The Baseball Economist, The Real Game Exposed.
"...even though there is zero reason to believe that publicly funded sports facilities ever pay back their costs by increasing overall economic activity or putting more tax revenue in government coffers."
"One of the things we often find about these stadiums," explains Kennesaw State University economist J.C. Bradbury, is that "[politicians and supporters] always underestimate the costs and overestimate the benefits."
Indeed, as Bradbury points out, every independent analysis of subsidies for sports teams and stadiums shows that they suck money out of the local economy. Yet time and again, politicians and team owners succeed in handing the taxpayer a bill. Why is that?
"People see money going into stadiums, people spending their dollars at the stadiums, going to the games," says Bradbury, who writes widely on the economics of sports. "Really, this is just a transfer from locals. Instead of spending their money on movies or going out to eat, they're going to a sports game, and so it looks like it's generating a lot of money."
Now consider as local economist W.E. Heasley says to me in his latest e-mail:
"Try this exercise. Remove "publicly funded sport facility" in the essay and interview above and replace it with "publicly funded performing arts center"'
You see, despite whatever they might have told you about the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts being privately funded, the City of Greensboro and the Community Foundation were supposed to show us the private money in March in the form of a plan. It's now the middle of July and they've yet to show us a anything.
Could that be because they're planning on replacing the private with public to cover up for their mistakes?
Is professional football coming to Greensboro? As far as I know there are no plans to bring it here and you had all better hope it stays that way.