We have officially reached the point where an NFL franchise is too valuable for any city unless they get taxpayers’ money to fund the stadium.
The San Diego Chargers spent $10 million on the campaign and proposal of a new $1.8 billion stadium to the fans and city, but it only wrangled in 43-percent of the vote, which caused them to move the franchise to sunny Los Angeles.
And what some people are calling one of the grossest injustices in the history of the NFL, Raiders’ owner Mark Davis and NFL’s commissioner Roger Goodell, did an ole’ fashioned taxpayer shakedown on Las Vegas, while ripping out Oakland’s heart, not once, but twice.
Bleacher Report reported:
“Questions cropped up regarding the viability of the Raiders’ move to Sin City after casino mogul Sheldon Adelson backed out of the team’s proposed $1.9 billion stadium deal, but relief came at the start of March when Bank of America informed the franchise it would contribute $650 million to help finance the stadium.
Furthermore, the Mercury News‘ Elliott Almond reported the state of Nevada will contribute $750 million toward the stadium, while the Raiders and NFL will pour $500 million into the project.
Conversely, the Raiders could not work out a deal to build a new stadium in Oakland. According to the San Francisco Chronicle‘s Vic Tafur, Oakland officials did not want to ask the public to finance the stadium.
And while there was a last-ditch effort by Fortress Investment Group to invest $600 million in a new stadium for the Raiders in Oakland, the plan was not considered a viable one.
Citing a letter from Goodell to Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf, David Debolt of the East Bay Times wrote Goodell wrote that the proposal was not “clear and specific (or) actionable in a reasonable time frame.”
But there’s a lot to unpack with the order of events here. What Mark Davis said after the 31-1 vote amongst team owners that allowed the Raiders to move to Las Vegas, was a long list of Oakland’s politicians trying to play the organization for leverage while raising rent on the coliseum over the next 2 years – a stadium they share with the Athletics.
Mark had reached his breaking point and Las Vegas entered the picture and offered the Raiders a record-breaking public subsidy to build a world-class $1.9 billion stadium.
According to Slate:
“Clark County taxpayers will contribute $750 million to the new arena, a record for a sports facility—about $354 per resident, taken from an increased tax on hotel rooms.
That tax currently pays for schools and transportation, in addition to tourism-related expenditures.
Stanford economist Roger Noll said it was the “worst deal for a city” he had ever seen. That it came together at all is remarkable.”
It’s even worse for Las Vegas residents when you consider that the public school system is going through massive education budget cuts, which is causing classes to double up.
“And then there’s the taxpayer contribution. Some cities forgo future property tax revenue for a pro stadium, or issue tax-free bonds paid off by the teams themselves, or contribute complimentary infrastructure like utility work or a nearby train station. But Las Vegas will pay for the thing itself—and with a tax on hotel rooms, something it already has. (Bonds will be repaid over 30 years with the tax revenue).
The state’s figures to justify that new tax are … ambitious. Its forecasts suggest 450,000 new visitors every year drawn by the 65,000-seat stadium, spending an average of 3.2 nights per visit.
About a third of tickets are supposed to be purchased by tourists, although no other city manages 10 percent. Why half a million people would fly across the country to watch a team that no one wants to pay $20 to see in Oakland is not clear.
A reminder from Brookings’ big September report on taxpayer subsidies for stadiums:
Academic studies consistently find no discernible positive relationship between sports facility construction and local economic development, income growth, or job creation.”
So while Oakland’s mayor refused to give taxpayers’ money to fund the badly needed stadium – mainly because and they don’t have the money to begin with – Oakland residents will have to deal with the pain of losing their up-and-coming Super Bowl contending franchise led by pro-bowlers Khalil Mack and Derek Carr again.
Ironically, the vibe is that Las Vegas residents are embracing their new team with pride and enthusiasm. Maybe, that is, until it hurts their wallets in their community.
Here’s a thought. How about billionaires pay for their own stadium?