The conflict between private and public funding for stadiums

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The Conflict Between Private And Public Funding For Stadiums


In the world of sports, a stadium, arena or complex will need renovations -- or maybe a new structure altogether.

There are typically a few ways to go about financing the construction: public funding, private funding or a combination of the two.

When the United States Tennis Association (USTA) decided rain was postponing too many matches at the US Open year after year, it chose to build a $150 million retractable roof over its main stadium using private funding.

The USTA used bank bonds to finance the project, and plans to pay those bonds back through ticketing and broadcasting revenue.

In contrast, public funding -- which is when taxpayers cover the tab -- tends to be a much more controversial model.

Guided by the belief that new or renovated stadiums could bring in more business and benefit local economies, there are a handful of examples of taxpayer dollars being used to foot the renovations of privately-owned stadiums.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said this about a $500 million stadium for the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks — roughly half of which would be paid for using taxpayer money.

"This is all based on growth. This is the ultimate free market, fiscally conservative approach going forward," Walker said.

But a number of studies refute that, suggesting many stadiums have no positive economic benefit.
That probably stings even worse if a team isn't that good — like the NHL's Arizona Coyotes.

In the NFL, a lot of stadiums have been built in recent years. Using numbers from a sports research and consulting firm, CNN reported, "Twenty new NFL stadiums have opened since 1997 with the help of $4.7 billion in taxpayer funds."

See photos of the 10 most expensive NFL stadiums:
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10 most expensive NFL stadiums
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The conflict between private and public funding for stadiums

10. Ford Field
Detroit, Michigan

(Photo by Mark Cunningham/Getty Images)

9. Paul Brown Stadium
Cincinnati, Ohio

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

8. University of Phoenix Stadium
Glendale, Arizona

(Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)

7. CenturyLink Field
Seattle, Washington

(Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

6. Lincoln Financial Field
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

5. Soldier Field
Chicago, Illinois.

(Photo by Sporting News via Getty Images)

4. Lucas Oil Stadium
Indianapolis, Indiana

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

3. AT&T Stadium
Arlington, Texas

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

2. Levi's Stadium
Santa Clara, California

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

1. MetLife Stadium
East Rutherford, New Jersey

(Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

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At the moment, lawmakers have proposed using taxpayer money to build new NFL stadiums in at least three cities: St. Louis, Missouri; San Diego, California; and Oakland, California.

For those cities, they are often faced with a difficult choice -- find the money or your team finds a new home.

Below shows the costs of the 10 most expensive NFL stadiums:
You can also see how much public funding was used to pay for these costly NFL stadiums:




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