NFL opposes US Republican tax plan on stadium funding

(Reuters) - The National Football League said on Tuesday it opposes a tax bill proposed by U.S. House of Representatives Republicans that could force teams to put up more of their own money to fund stadium construction.

Under the legislation unveiled last week, local governments could no longer fund the building or renovation of professional sports stadiums by issuing tax-exempt, public-purpose bonds, the sort of bonds typically used to fund schools, libraries and public transit.

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According to the NFL, building new stadiums enhances economic development in cities that are home to the venues and federal tax breaks should be available.

"You can look around the country and see the economic development that's generated from some of these stadiums," NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart told a conference call.

"These sorts of infrastructure projects have a long history and the benefits of them are obvious in many of our communities around the country, so we will continue to make our opposition known on that."

President Donald Trump has called for an end to the subsidy, at least for the NFL, after some of its players angered the Republican president by kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial bias in the criminal justice system. His Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, also proposed ending the tax break for stadiums in 2015.

A report last year by the Brookings Institution, the Washington-based social sciences research group, found that of the 45 major-league stadiums built or overhauled since 2000, 36 were at least partly funded by tax-exempt municipal bonds.

Ranking the best and worst NFL stadiums: 2017
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Ranking the best and worst NFL stadiums: 2017

31. Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum - Oakland, California

Team: Oakland Raiders

Capacity: 53,286

Roof type: Open

This arena is among the smallest and oldest in the league -- filled with some of the most intense (and sometimes violent) fans you’ll ever meet -- and is still shared with the Oakland A’s of the MLB, giving the seats a strange layout.

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

30. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum - Los Angeles, California

Team: Los Angeles Rams

Capacity: 93,605

Roof type: Open

While history abounds at the Memorial Coliseum, visits may be more worthwhile for non-NFL events. The Rams are just biding their time here until a new stadium is built for them.

(Photo by Omar Vega/LatinContent/Getty Images)

29. FedExField - Landover, Maryland

Team: Washington Redskins

Capacity: 82,000

Roof type: Open

Fans should hope for better than dwindling attendance and questionable mascots out of one of the league’s largest stadiums, though placing it in No Man’s Land, Maryland, may have had an effect on the recent decision to remove thousands of seats.

(Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)

28. Nissan Stadium - Nashville, Tennessee

Team: Tennessee Titans

Capacity: 69,143

Roof type: Open

Just as the Titans began to struggle, so did Nissan Stadium, with dwindling attendance causing cuts to personnel and thus convenience for fans.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

27. Soldier Field - Chicago, Illinois

Team: Chicago Bears

Capacity: 61,500

Roof type: Open 

This lakefront arena offers some spectacular views, but is overall a confusing place with historic columns still featured among the modern-day upgrades (and also, the Bears).

(Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

26. EverBank Field - Jacksonville, Florida

Team: Jacksonville Jaguars

Capacity: 67,246

Roof type: Open

The game itself likely wouldn’t draw you to EverBank, but the Florida sunshine and the in-stadium spas assure it won’t be that terrible of an experience.

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

25. New Era Field - Orchard Park, New York

Team: Buffalo Bills

Capacity: 71,608

Roof type: Open

Situated roughly 14 miles outside of Buffalo, New Era Field is home to the ever-amusing Bills Mafia -- but with a permanently open roof, late fall and winter games here are not for the faint of heart.

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

24. FirstEnergy Stadium - Cleveland, Ohio

Team: Cleveland Browns

Capacity: 67,895

Roof type: Open

Taking in a home Browns game may be worth it just to witness the unwavering passion of the DawgPound (as long as you’re bundled up).

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

23. Hard Rock Stadium - Miami Gardens, Florida

Team: Miami Dolphins

Capacity: 65,326

Roof type: Open

Hard Rock Stadium has one of the most interesting appearances in the league, which isn’t an accident -- the arena’s canopy keeps fans protected, and the bars and tailgating space keep them partying.

(Photo by Michele Sandberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

22. Mercedes-Benz Superdome - New Orleans, Louisiana

Team: New Orleans Saints

Capacity: 76,468

Roof type: Fixed closed

This stadium has undergone several renovations since it was struck by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and has hosted the most Super Bowls. It’s worth a visit if you find yourself already in New Orleans.

(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

21. Bank of America Stadium - Charlotte, North Carolina

Team: Carolina Panthers

Capacity: 75,419

Roof type: Open

Bank of America Stadium is technologically savvy, modern and it features plenty of amenities with a stunning view of downtown Charlotte.

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

20. StubHub Center - Carson, California

Team: Los Angeles Chargers

Capacity: 30,000

Roof type: Open

By far the smallest stadium on this list, this modern arena is worth a trip if you’re looking to get really close to the game (but maybe not to any other fans) before the Chargers move on.

(Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)

19. Paul Brown Stadium - Cincinnati, Ohio

Team: Cincinnati Bengals

Capacity: 65,515

Roof type: Open

Anything would have been welcome after Cincinnati’s previous stadium, but even aside from that, Paul Brown Stadium is an enjoyable experience.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

18. Ford Field - Detroit, Michigan

Team: Detroit Lions

Capacity: 65,000

Roof type: Fixed closed

With recent updates to the food options, a closed roof for the winter and the much-delayed addition of a cheerleading squad, Ford Field is worth a trip if your team is in town.

(Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

17. Raymond James Stadium - Tampa, Florida

Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Capacity: 65,890

Roof type: Open

The arena is uncovered, so prepare to sweat during those afternoon games. Luckily, the pirate-like antics throughout the day are sure to keep any fan entertained.

(Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

16. Levi’s Stadium - Santa Clara, California

Team: San Francisco 49ers

Capacity: 68,500

Roof type: Open

Built in 2014, Levi’s Stadium was ahead of the curve with its technology and app that allowed fans to get food delivered to their seats, but it’s situated quite far from the city its team is named for, and actually gets quite hot.

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

15. MetLife Stadium - East Rutherford, New Jersey

Teams: New York Giants, New York Jets

Capacity: 82,500

Roof type: Open

MetLife is roughly an hour-long trip from Midtown Manhattan and it hosted the ninth most attended Super Bowl of all time -- you should be prepared to shell out some dough here.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

14. NRG Stadium - Houston, Texas

Team: Houston Texans

Capacity: 72,220

Roof type: Retractable

The colossal screens and retractable roof for any weather are great qualities to have in a stadium that plays host to some seriously momentous occasions, like Super Bowl LI.

(Photo by Al Pereira/ Getty Images)

13. Gillette Stadium - Foxborough, Massachusetts

Team: New England Patriots

Capacity: 66,829

Roof type: Open

Located roughly 30 miles outside of Boston and 25 from Providence, Rhode Island, Gillette Stadium may be tough to get to -- but the surrounding Patriot Place, full of stores and restaurants, provides plenty of opportunities for fun. Inside, you’ll probably watch your team suffer at the hands of Brady and Belichick, which is less fun.

(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

12. Lincoln Financial Field - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Team: Philadelphia Eagles

Capacity: 69,596

Roof type: Open

Located in the same complex as the Phillies’ Citizen Bank Park and Flyers’ Wells Fargo Center, Lincoln Financial Field is a parking lot tailgater’s dream. The Eagles themselves not so much, but that’s not the stadium’s fault.

(Photo by Evan Habeeb/Getty Images)

11. Lucas Oil Stadium - Indianapolis, Indiana

Team: Indianapolis Colts

Capacity: 67,000

Roof type: Retractable

Lucas Oil Stadium is an enjoyable place to take in a game regardless of how well (or poorly) the Colts do. With great views from any seat, the arena also features stunning windows and a retractable roof.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

10. University of Phoenix Stadium - Glendale, Arizona

Team: Arizona Cardinals

Capacity: 63,400

Roof type: Retractable

University of Phoenix Stadium was built for big games -- and lucky for Arizona fans, it was built with a retractable roof to keep in that air conditioning.

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

9. M&T Bank Stadium - Baltimore, Maryland

Team: Baltimore Ravens

Capacity: 71,008

Roof type: Open

M&T Bank Stadium is a tailgater and multi-sport fan's delight! Stroll down RavensWalk, stretching from the Orioles' Camden Yards, then grab some crab and mingle with the ever-passionate locals. You won’t be disappointed.

(Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

8. Sports Authority Field at Mile High - Denver, Colorado

Team: Denver Broncos

Capacity: 76,125

Roof type: Open

Beer aficionados should certainly have Mile High on their list, but prepare for a name change due to Sports Authority’s recent bankruptcy.

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

7. Mercedes-Benz Stadium - Atlanta, Georgia

Team: Atlanta Falcons

Capacity: 71,000

Roof type: Retractable

Time will tell with the NFL’s newest stadium, which features perks like low food costs, open spaces and a massive video board. On the other hand, including a Chick-fil-A that won’t even be open for games is kind of like thinking you’re about to win the Super Bowl and then, well …

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

6. U.S. Bank Stadium - Minneapolis, Minnesota

Team: Minnesota Vikings

Capacity: 66,655

Roof type: Fixed closed

The Vikings' new home as of 2016 is modern, sleek and full of light and good food. Plus, it’s warm during the winter thanks to its closed roof -- which is a huge upgrade from the Metrodome.

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

5. Heinz Field - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

Capacity: 68,400

Roof type: Open

Heinz Field is a perfect mix of its city’s gritty history and modern upgrades that should entice any fan. Bring an appetite for local food and wear your brightest yellow when you hit up this must-see stadium.

(Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

4. Arrowhead Stadium - Kansas City, Missouri

Team: Kansas City Chiefs

Capacity: 76,416

Roof type: Open

Arrowhead is not for the faint of heart -- or ear. If you’re looking for passionate fans and an electric atmosphere, start planning your trip now.

(Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

3. AT&T Stadium - Arlington, Texas

Team: Dallas Cowboys

Capacity: 80,000

Roof type: Retractable

The Cowboys’ home stadium is a nearly-unbeatable experience and practically doubles as an art museum. It’s massive, has incredible food options, and an enormous screen over midfield that even fans in the nosebleeds feel like they’re right next to.

(Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)

2. Lambeau Field - Green Bay, Wisconsin

Team: Green Bay Packers

Capacity: 81,435

Roof type: Open

The iconic Lambeau is a welcome blast from the past. Opened in 1957, it has a recognizable bowl shape and fans who are (literally) invested. It’s a must-experience for any hardcore football fan -- except maybe the lactose intolerant.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

1. CenturyLink Field - Seattle, Washington

Team: Seattle Seahawks

Capacity: 68,000

Roof type: Open

You can find a picture of the Seahawks’ home arena in the dictionary under “home-field advantage.” Plain and simple: You can't beat the view. You can't beat the noise. As far as game experiences go, CenturyLink Field can't be topped.

(Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)


The NFL's Oakland Raiders are expected to begin playing in Las Vegas in 2020 and construction on a new stadium is already underway. Lockhart refused to what, if any, impact the bill could have on the viability of the new stadium.

"That is a hypothetical at this point and we'd have to see how the final bill comes out," he said.

"What gets proposed out of the writing committee from the party in control very often is not what is eventually signed into law, so we'll have to see where that goes."

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