American Consequences - October 2017


Kansas City is not alone in the Midwest regarding new stadium promises. The new stadium in downtown Louisville has yet to match predicted financial goals. And in Minnesota, new stadiums for both the NFL’s Vikings and MLB’s Minnesota Twins in the last decade have yet to secure any long-term success on the playing field. “No matter the city or the situation, elected officials and owners are not going to give up the fight,” says deMause. “It is at the heart of their business and that is not going to change any time soon.”

The background story behind public financing and stadiums is not limited to the capital city of the Golden State. Across the country, cities deal with wealthy team owners holding them hostage... threatening to move a team out of the city unless they’re promised a new stadium. Take Kansas City, Missouri, in America’s heartland. There, when plans to build the Sprint Center with taxpayer funds were finalized a decade ago, the promise was to attract either a National Hockey League franchise, a National Basketball Association franchise, or both. While the Sprint Center has somewhat revitalized previously dormant downtown Kansas City and has hosted dozens of college sporting events, the city is still waiting for the professional sports franchise it was promised. In the meantime, the city has missed its two best chances. Las Vegas was awarded a NHL franchise that begins to play this month, while, as previously mentioned, the Seattle SuperSonics relocated to nearby Oklahoma City nearly a decade ago. “They still haven’t been awarded a basketball team or a hockey team. And it doesn’t look like that is happening any time soon,” says deMause. “Since it is in the heartland, it kind of got overlooked... another story of broken promises.”

They played the public for fools and the people bought it.


Meanwhile in Hamilton County, Ohio, Capell is trying to make sure a repeat of public financing and escalating budgets does not happen again. The city of Cincinnati wants to tear down and rebuild U.S. Bank Arena using more than $300 million of sales tax money. But with Cincinnati’s track record of overbudgeting and underperforming with the Reds’ Great American Ballpark, Capell and other citizens are not giving the officials of the “Queen City” the benefit of the doubt.

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