Well, it turns out that Shea and the old Yankee Stadium - both of which sat on park land, and were owned by the city - were the Parks Department's biggest revenue generators.Well, the city also paid for maintenance of the publicly-owned stadiums, so there was a trade-off.
Under the old Yankee Stadium deal, the city was assured a percentage of gate receipts, a percentage of food sales, even a percentage of the team's cable revenue.
Now the teams pay themselves for maintenance, but they got nice deals that allowed them to pay for construction of new facilities, with luxury suites/boxes, via tax-exempt bonds. Ditto with the Atlantic Yards arena.
And, as Gonzalez suggests, it's negotiable--and the teams seem to have negotiated well.
For example, why did the state give arena naming rights away?
Why, if it was "part of the financing for the project," was it never counted in any subsidy analysis?