Sunday, July 20, 2008

On the new Yankee Stadium, two very different calculations in the NY Times (Zimbalist vs. deMause)

From a 1/22/06 op-ed in the New York Times by sports economist Andrew Zimbalist, headlined Fair Ball:
The Yankees are proposing a fair financial deal to the city. Nationally, during the last 15 years, the public share in stadium development costs (that is, the stadium plus roads, utilities and so forth) for professional sports has averaged around 75 percent. The Yankees are planning to spend $800 million of their own money on the new stadium (no major league baseball team has spent more than $300 million on their own playing field). The city and state together will spend about $210 million for improvements in the neighborhood. By this reckoning, the public share is only about 21 percent.


A different view

From a 7/17/08 essay by Tommy Craggs, headlined Goodbye Ghosts, Hello Hefty Tax Bill:
As the excellent book "Field of Schemes" by Neil DeMause puts it, Steinbrenner’s tenure has been "little more than one long plea for a new city-financed ballpark," a wish that will be fulfilled when the new stadium next door opens in 2009, at a public cost that DeMause estimates will be just south of a billion dollars.

Many of those public costs are not direct subsidies, as deMause explains. But the distinction sure is worth sorting out.

Why? If Zimbalist's narrow view, which excludes many benefits to the team owners, is incorrect, well, not only is his defense of Yankee Stadium untenable, so is his (easily-criticized) analysis of the impact of Atlantic Yards.

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