Michael Rathbone
While the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission (CVC) and the St. Louis Rams continue to fight about how much the general public is going to have to pay for renovations to the Edward Jones Dome, people seem to forget that not all sports stadiums are financed with public dollars.

The new MetLife stadium, which the New York Giants and the New York Jets co-own, was 100 percent privately financed. If two teams can get together and finance the construction of a $1.6 billion stadium, then other teams can afford to foot the bill for their wanted upgrades.

I have not been shy about criticizing public financing of sports stadiums. The academic literature is pretty consistent in its findings that public financing of sports stadiums makes no economic sense. Yet, when it comes to these fights about upgrading sports stadiums, the private financing option is rarely, if ever, seriously discussed.

The public does not have to shell out cash for sports stadiums. There is another way. It was disconcerting that the CVC originally proposed a renovation plan that involved public dollars. Close to $60 million if you believe some of the estimates. The CVC’s new plan does not indicate it will be any cheaper for taxpayers. In fact, it is more likely that the opposite is the case. Considering the example set in New York, why should the public spend a dime?

About the Author

Michael Rathbone
Policy Researcher
Michael Rathbone was a policy researcher at the Show-Me Institute. He is a native of Saint Louis and a 2008 graduate of Saint Louis University, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in biomedical engineering.