Citizens Still Paying for Stadiums that have been Demolished

Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The beginning of the end for Giants Stadium (photo: WCBS 880)
The days of publicly-financed sports stadiums are largely over for most American communities, and it’s just as well. For today, decades after many such venues were built to accommodate professional football and/or baseball teams, local residents are still paying off the construction debts—of stadiums no longer standing.
Example No. 1: Giants Stadium. The so-called New York football franchise relocated to New Jersey in the 1976, thanks to a new stadium financed through local bonds. That facility grew old by the 21st century, and was replaced this year with a new stadium right next door. The Giants played their last game at Giants Stadium on January 3, 2010, and it was completely demolished by August 10. But New Jerseyans are still on the hook for $110 million in debt related to the stadium and $266 million overall for the Meadowlands Sports Complex it was a part of.
Similar situations face communities in Seattle, where $80 million is still owed on the Kingdome, which was demolished ten years ago, as well as in Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Houston, Kansas City, Memphis and Pittsburgh.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
As Stadiums Vanish, Their Debt Lives On (by Ken Belson, New York Times)


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