Here in the heat of the argument, where old feuds and clashing personalities have obscured the debate over the Marlins’ baseball stadium deal, the assessment of an objective outsider can be illuminating.
Monday’s New York Times looks at Miami’s stadium deal. And sums it up this way:
Miami and Miami-Dade County have agreed to cover three-quarters of the projected $645 million cost to build the Marlins a home with a retractable roof and four huge parking garages. In return, the city and the county will receive no new revenue from the park, and the team can keep all the money from the 50 luxury suites, concessions and advertising, as well as from naming rights, which alone could generate more than $100 million.
Times writer Ken Belson wrote:
Such generous terms were not uncommon during good times, before city and county officials faced yawning budget gaps, potential layoffs and cuts in social services. Yet they forged ahead, anyway, largely dismissing voter opposition and the lessons learned elsewhere that new stadiums sometimes fail to deliver the economic punch promised in forecasts and that the public financing for them can handcuff future generations.
The deal was a fresh reminder that even during a recession, sports hold sway over communities regardless of the potential costs.
The Times story, comparing Miami’s coming expenditures with other contemporary stadium deals, does not conclude that we’ve gotten much of a bargain. The story’s at