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Empty Nests: Why Do Blue Cities Fund Stadiums?
In 2022 the NFL’s Buffalo Bills announced a deal with the state of New York to build a brand new $1.4 Billion stadium in Erie County. The passage of funding between the state, the Buffalo Bills, and the NFL requires that New York taxpayers front a whopping 60% of the project – or about $850 dollars. This reignited a debate that has been raging in the US for the past two decades: Should taxpayers front the costs of large scale stadiums for billionaire owners? The answer is not easy, as every major sports league in the country has leveraged their teams to push secure taxpayer funding and the problem only seems to be getting worse.
In this episode Ravi speaks with Victor Matheson, a sports economist and professor at the College of Holy Cross, who has studied stadium financing for over two decades. They discuss the history of sports stadiums in America, the arguments for and against public financing, and why this disturbing trend may not be going away. You won’t need to be a sports fan to enjoy this conversation.