Sports Facilities and Urban Redevelopment: Private and Public Benefits and a Prescription for a Healthier Future

Mark S. Rosentraub

Governments still labor to form public/private partnerships to develop sports facilities that will retain teams while also creating benefits for communities. This work is undertaken as advocates point to a stream of possible benefits from a new sports facility, while detractors argue a sports tax is nothing short of corporate welfare. This retrospective analysis of the experiences of several cities identifies the range of private and public benefits that can accrue and then highlights what Major League Baseball owners and players have gained from the era of new ballparks. With the level of private benefits created for team owners and players as a background, the tactics used by some cities to secure public benefits are summarized to help create a framework for a public/private partnership that truly works to the advantage of taxpayers and the city that chooses to build a sports facility.