Tuesday, September 16, 2008


It was shoved down our throats at the All-Star Game, and it will be shoved down our throats this weekend. The Yankees are moving across the street to a new Yankee Stadium.

Their new ballpark will be bigger (albeit with slightly fewer seats), with luxury boxes and all the modern amenities of a new stadium. And unlike the original Yankee Stadium, it will be owned by the team, not the City of New York.

But the city and state are still footing the bill for it, at least most of the $1.3 billion price tag. An estimated $550 to $850 million in subsidies from the financially strapped city and state governments of New York will go to help build the new Yankee Stadium. And since the Yankees own the new ballpark, that money is as good as gone.

According to the Westchester Democrat, the Yankees quietly threatened to leave New York in order to secure this massive chunk of public financing.

The Yankees raked in $327 million in revenues last year. That number could nearly double once the new Stadium and its luxury boxes open in 2009. With this kind of present and future cashflow, the Yankees could have easily financed their new ballpark on their own, with the help of a few business loans which would be quickly paid off.

But why pay for something when you can squeeze the city and state in order to get it for free?

I'm all for governments supporting their sports teams. Philadelphia built new facilities for the Eagles just a few years ago. But the city owns that stadium. Massachusetts improved infrastructure around the new Gillette Stadium. But the cost of that paled in comparison to the price Bob Kraft paid to build the actual stadium with his own money.

The state of New York will have an estimated $6.4 billion budget deficit next year. But the Yankees don't care. They have a new Yankee Stadium, financed to a large extent by the taxpayers of New York, and the team will pocket ALL the revenues it generates.

Associated Press via Yahoo! Sports
Crain's New York Business.com
Gotham Gazette

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