Citizens for More Important Things



Related Hyperlinks & News 

We are linked to as many websites and articles on the Internet as we can find that will shed light on the issue of funding stadia and professional sports with tax subsidies, and the history of Key Arena.  This is intended to be a resource.  If you know of links, studies or articles that should be represented here, let us know, and we will add them.


Sports economists agree that cities--and taxpayers--get close to nothing from spending public money on sports teams. What they haven't figured out is why we're still doing it.  Drake Bennett,  Boston Globe,  March 19, 2006

Priced to Move, Sports Illustrated, 03/17/06  Schultz sells now, gets a decent price.  The next owner really  plays the bad guy, and works over the city, county and state, putting us in a bidding war against some other city.  
Seattle mayor: Sonics' fate not my priority, KING 5 TV, 03/15/06 Seattle's Mayor Nickles has more important things to do than bail out billionaires!
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mike Hewitt:  Will He Go to Bat for Taxes to Subsidize Billionaires? Capitol Chat transcript, The Olympian, 03/10/2006
Time runs out on Sonics' push for new arena, USA Today, Curt Woodward, Associated Press, 03/05/06
Five myths, five truths, no threat and no charge, Peter Callaghan, 02/26/06

Takko upset by focus on Seattle for tax monies, The Daily News, Longview, 02-26-06

Columbus , Ohio voters faced a similar choice, and they voted down public financing of a new sports complex.  Within four weeks of the vote, two private companies came forward to privately finance a hockey arena.  Within six weeks, the NHL awarded a hockey franchise to the city.   Moreover, the facilities will be built for substantially less money. The privately-financed arena will cost just $125 million.  A privately-financed soccer stadium intended for suburban Columbus is expected to run just $26.5 million.  Moreover, the public sector commitment represents 17.2% of the combined cost of both projects, compared to 80% under the first proposal.  The total tab for a new arena and soccer stadium fell from $285 million to only $183 million when financed primarily through private sources – a 35.8% reduction.

Sports Stadium Madness: Why It Started - How To Stop It," by Joseph L. Bast, Heartland Policy Institute

Sports Pork: The Costly Relationship between Major League Sports and Government, Raymond J. Keating, Cato Institute

How Do You Score? by John Scannell, Special to The Seattle Times, 02/26/06  This is probably the most succinct article on this issue yet printed.  Take the test!  See how you score!

Not this plan from the Sonics, Seattle Times, 02/19/2006


The Growth Effects of Sport Franchises, Stadia, and Arenas
Dennis Coates and Brad R. Humphreys.   In this December 1, 1997 working paper, Coates and Humphreys examine the effect of sports stadiums on economic growth. They find that some professional sports franchises reduce the level of per capita income in cities and have no effect on the growth rate in per capita income.

Update: Schultz Starts the Shot Clock, Seattle Weekly, 02/01/06  Schultz Throws Temper Tantrum, Says He'll Take His Ball Somewhere Else

Stern: NBA may not block Sonics departure
Associated Press, Brian Mahoney, 02/18/2000

CFMIT comment:  

NBA assertions aside, since the NBA does not enjoy the same anti-trust exemptions as baseball, Commissioner Stern probably could not stop them from leaving even if he wanted.  This is an example of the chutzpah of professional sports.  See the article below from the New York Sun for the real story.



Forget Those Small-Market Dollars and Come to New York by Evan Weiner, The New York Sun

Major League owners have a different set of business rules and can act with monopoly powers. The Mets and Yankees can block any move. But neither the NBA nor the NHL nor the NFL has that exemption.Therefore, it is possible that the New York City/New Jersey/Connecticut market could add another NHL team, say in Brooklyn, two NBA teams, say in New Jersey and Long Island, and an NFL team.

    The San Diego Clippers ended up in Los Angeles in 1984 despite the NBA’s best efforts to block the move. And Raiders owner Al Davis beat the NFL in court when the league attempted to stop his move from Oakland to L.A. in 1982.


Seattle Center: Beyond 'gimme'
Seattle P-I, 02/19/2006

The Allegheny Institute for Public Policy

Taxpayers Need to Hold On to Their Wallets

Once again the Pittsburgh Penguins are threatening to move (December 15, 2005)  if they don't get a new arena soon.

The team wants taxpayers to cough up the money (now an estimated $278 million) to build the arena, but local governments are financially embarrassed at the moment. There really is no money unless the County decides to divert spending from currently funded items or raise taxes. The City is in distressed status and the County eliminated 500 positions in 2004. Even the Governor's office is quick to point out that even though money is earmarked, it is not currently available.

With the team's lease for the Mellon Arena up in 2007, the team is pressuring elected officials to find the money. Will lawmakers cave, or will the Penguins march away?


Research on the Economics of Sports Stadiums

On November 29, 1995, the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Business Rights, and Competition of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary held hearings on sports franchise relocation. Four panels--federal policy makers, sports league commissioners, municipal authorities, and academics--presented testimony to the committee. That testimony has been reprinted in four volumes [Heartland Policy Studies #74-77] and is summarized here.  Additionally, an extensive bibliography of studies on free market economics and sports funding is available at the Heartland website.


Compensation at Nonprofits
Is Scrutinized Amid Lawsuits

Joann S. Lublin, Wall Street Journal

"....Owners of the 32 National Football League teams, for instance, paid league commissioner Paul Tagliabue a $6.4 million salary for the year ended March 31, 2003, according to an IRS filing by the league. "The commissioner's salary is commensurate with the NFL's role in America," says a league spokesman, Brian McCarthy. The NFL has annual revenue of around $5 billion.

Mr. Tagliabue's compensation also is in line with that of National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern...."



History of the Vancouver Grizzlies

how a pro-sports team does not make a city great

Now the Memphis Grizzlies

Basketball stadia from around the country, with historical summary.  And the information is in French, to boot.

Join Us!


Key Arena


Elected Officials


Related Links & News

Contact Us

See The List of More Important Things

Add Your Thing To The List of More Important Things

Citizens for More Important Things
PO Box 4473
Seattle, Washington 98194


The Puzzling Economics of Sports

by Allen R. Sanderson, Associate Chair, Department of Economics, The University of Chicago

May 3, 2004



Field of Schemes

"Congress Threatens To Leave D.C. Unless New Capitol Is Built," the Onion reported in its May 29 edition. The Beijing Evening News promptly picked up the satirical story as a genuine news item, leaving red-faced editors to bemoan that "some small American newspapers frequently fabricate offbeat news to trick people into noticing them, with the aim of making money." . . . Meanwhile, the Nigerian e-mail scam has even discovered stadium subsidies, with one version of the venerable hoax now asking for personal bank account numbers to help redirect funds from "supply of stadium equipment/building and re-construction of our proposed new national stadium." --August 2, 2002



Home Page | Key Arena | Events | Elected Officials | Related Links
Contact Us