New stadium downtown would be a waste

The old stadium is fine and there are better ways to stimulate economic development.

August 8, 2018

Building a new stadium (a big waste) downtown would mean throwing away the perfectly fine existing stadium (another big waste) at the city's edge. A better idea would be to create a redevelopment plan for the surrounding area. Lot's of open space; lots of potential.

As others have said, this ship has sailed. Moreover, it's no big deal either way. Here's why.

Stadiums are essentially a type of retail development (think entertainment, theatre). Money that fans spend at or near the stadium (tickets, wining, dining, shopping) is money not spent somewhere else in the metropolitan area; the net economic stimulus is little to none. That is why IDAs are not supposed to subsidize retail development.

The $25M plan (already creeping to $30M) proposes to reduce stadium seating from 11,000 to 7,000 in order to create space to build the new features (restaurants, shops, etc.). What does that suggest about current and projected attendance figures?: That attendance is weak. Apparently, then, the underlying premise of the plan is that more retail opportunities at the stadium will generate more revenue per customer for the team owners. Which reinforces the point that the plan is a retail project and that projected attendance will be low.

Frankly, if the baseball team doesn't think investing $25M (with 25yr lease) in new amenities at the stadium will be profitable, then all the more reason for the County to not "invest" in it.

We have already discussed in the community that public investment in stadiums provides little or no net public benefit, and that there are more effective ways to stimulate the local economy (e.g., public infrastructure, thoughtful urban design/planning, public transit, place-making,...good government). And let's not forget that we are talking about a minor league stadium. It hasn't the ability to draw massive crowds or the "tourism" component of the major league stadiums we improperly use as examples.

Government should not subsidize stadiums for the benefit of private operators. If the government has or builds a stadium, it should rent it out as theatres do: to multiple organization for a variety of uses during specific days and times. This way, the stadium can be put to fuller use, and so might actually serve as public infrastructure that provides a net benefit the community.