Why Do Sports Team Owners Ask for Public Funding?

What do Orchard Park, NY, Green Bay, WI, and even Raleigh, NC have in common? All of the cities have sports venues that are partially funded by the public.

Why would cities help with funding a sports venue in the first place? 

When a new facility is built it also brings an increase in jobs and spending in that area which is positive for the economic state of the region. Knowing this, owners that are funding the construction of stadiums and venues are going to want funding from the state. 

Panthers team owner David Tepper just recently canceled the building of their new practice facility due to lack of public funding.  David Tepper said the town of Rockhill North Carolina failed to get bonds for 250 million dollars worth of roads for the venue. The new Panthers practice facility would’ve been 700,000 sq feet and would increase jobs and spending in the area, which would be positive for the economic state of the region. David Tepper is the richest owner in the NFL so he doesn’t necessarily need the public funding, but building this stadium will benefit the economy in the region greatly, so David Tepper is going to want money from the town. 

According to CBS Sports, only three NFL teams do not use any public funding for their stadiums, meaning 27 other stadiums across the country use some form of public funding to build stadiums, even if their owners are wealthy. This idea is true across most sports in most countries around the world.

So why do Sports team owners ask for public funding? When building these venues and stadiums the owners know that it’s going to bring revenue and enhance the economy in whatever area they build it in. Owners knowing this is one of the reasons why they ask the town for funding for roads at least. 

A lot of times, local governments help pay for stadiums through taxes. For example, the News & Observer reports that PNC arena in Raleigh, home of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes and the NCAA’s NC State Wolfpack, is mostly paid for through taxes on the restaurant and hotel industries. This is despite the fact that Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon has a net worth of $1.02 billion. The idea here is that the tourism that stadiums bring through sports and entertainment will pay for any upgrades the venues need and enhance the local economies. It’s a win-win for all parties. 

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