Stadium Woes Renovating and purchasing land for brand new sports arenas is becoming as common as SportCenter reruns on ESPN. But, is the fascination with bigger and better arenas worth the cost? Is using tax dollars from the residents worth building a multi-million dollar facility for a struggling team? Will the new structure lure more people to watch a substandard team? And how long can cities expect to be paying off the debt of building the new arena? Long after a team has been sold to another city? What happens then? Team owners around the country are facing questions like these, hoping to get not only local tax dollars but also lucrative sponsorships to help fund the new facility.

The following information will focus on not only these questions, but also some of the problems that current facilities are facing. For example, the Orlando Magic, who play in the Voss family owned TD Waterhouse Centre, are lobbying to get a new arena but have lost about $10 million in the each of the last four years. How can a city like Orlando justify laying out the expense on a new facility for a team that is consistently losing money? Currently, the Magic have the third oldest arena in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and can use age as an argument for building a new stadium, but this season's record and history of injuries has also cost the team their NBC contract for the rest of the year, which means valuable revenue for the team.

Justifying the expense is only one of the problems that people have to consider when deciding whether or not to build a new stadium. Another is looks and fan appeal. The arenas of old cater to the fan by providing concession stands on all concourses and parking relatively close to entrances. Newer arenas have become more extravagant with waiters to bring people their food, areas for expensive skyboxes for the V.I.P.s, and reserved parking spaces and red carpet for superstars.

Industry experts estimate that more than $7 billion will be spent on new facilities for professional sports teams before 2006 (Bast, 1998). Funding can be subsidized in several ways: construction and ownership by a government agency, construction and operating grants paid to private owners or developers, state and local tax abatements, and by the use of federal tax-exempt bonds to finance construction.

The information in this site will explore the questions above as well as determine whether or not sports have become so glamorized and specialized that the ordinary fan is almost completely left out of the excitement. Ticket prices are soaring and the love for the game seems to be fading with every new skybox that is built and every marketing scheme that is utilized to attract money and superstars to the event. The ultimate essence of the game is lost and the true fans are left to watch the game at home. And it all starts with the stadium. In the future, newer, bigger and fancier will determine what kinds of fans attend games.

The Fan Public Economic Benefit Funding Stadium Stories Sources
Last Updated: April 19, 2001
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