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Sacking Taxpayers: How NFL Stadium Subsidies Waste Money and Fall Short on Their Promises of Economic Development

September 9, 2015
By Taxpayers Protection Alliance

This report, published by Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), examines how median household income and poverty rates in counties with National Football League (NFL) changed after tax dollars were used to subsidize the football stadiums.

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This report, published by Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA), examines how median household income and poverty rates in counties with National Football League (NFL) changed after tax dollars were used to subsidize the football stadiums.

Taxpayers have been forced to contribute almost $7 billion to the owners of NFL teams, in the name of economic development, TPA says.

“Since 1995, a staggering 29 of the 31 stadiums that house NFL teams received public subsidies for construction, renovation or both,” TPA says. “Between 1995 and today, taxpayers have been forced to spend nearly $7 billion subsidizing NFL stadium construction and renovation projects.  The subsidies amount to little more than crass corporate welfare. After all, the handouts for stadium construction and renovation projects amount to money being taken from struggling taxpayers by politicians, then funneled to the billionaire owners of the teams in order to reduce their overhead cost  and increase their profits. While government leaders and team officials argue that publicly subsidized stadiums are justified because the projects encourage economic growth by generating wealth and creating jobs.”

Taxpayer subsidies for NFL stadiums appear to destroy economic prosperity, instead of promoting prosperity, TPA says.

“Taxpayers funded more than half the construction cost of 12 stadiums from 1995-2013,” TPA says. “During that time, national median household income rose 0.3 percent across the United States, adjusted for  inflation. In the dozen counties in which an NFL stadium was built using more than 50 percent public funds, however, median household income plummeted 5.7 percent during the same time. Twenty-six counties in America are home to an NFL stadium that received tax dollars between 1995 and 2013. In an astonishing 17 of those 26 counties, the median household income actually decreased in constant dollars after the stadium received public money for construction or renovation.  Taxpayer-financed NFL stadiums didn’t just appear to decrease median income, they also apparently contributed to increasing the number of people living in poverty.”