Feeling At Home In The Dome
I recently attended a St. Louis Rams football game at the Edward Jones Dome. The Rams were playing the Green Bay Packers and much to my dismay, the visiting Packers fans seemed to outnumber the Rams fans (if the Packers fans in attendance were not a majority of the crowd, they were at least a significant minority). This fact was distressing in and of itself, but after watching the Rams get shellacked, I remembered something worse. The Rams want the public to help finance upgrades to the Edward Jones Dome.
The Rams want to massively upgrade their stadium, and have the taxpayers pay for a large part of it. Yet the Rams struggle to even fill more than half the stadium on game day with their own fans. I oppose public subsidies for sports stadiums on principle and it makes even less sense to give public subsidies to a team that struggles to fill the stands.
There is no economically compelling reason that the public should subsidize sports stadium construction, whether or not the team sells out every home game. It is also hard to see, with the Rams at least, that there is a quality of life case to be made. If the Rams want to risk their own money to renovate their stadium, they should be free to do so, but the only way I am willing to help Stan Kroenke, the Rams’ owner, foot the bill is to shop at Wal-Mart.