Oakland fans are putting away their jerseys and memorabilia as their beloved Raiders move to Las Vegas, where city officials raised $750 million to bring the team to Sin City in the largest taxpayer subsidy in NFL history.
The Raiders’ new $1.9 billion stadium will be funded in part by Vegas residents’ tax dollars, the largest tax subsidy since the Indianapolis Colts brought in $619 million in 2008.
Oakland’s Mayor Libby Schaaf told The New York Times that she was disappointed that the NFL moved the franchise, but she didn’t back down from standing “firm on no public funding for stadium constructions.”
This move is the latest in bringing sports franchises to cities that are struggling to bring in public money to fund the stadiums, while also tackling funding for their own basic needs.
Taxpayers in Clark County, where Las Vegas is located, are footing a chunk of the stadium bill due to an increased tax on hotel rooms. That tax money simultaneously funds transportation and schools, which have gotten the short end of the yardstick with increased class sizes and a reduced number of schools due to tight school district budgets in 2016.
St. Louis residents are facing similar questions about financing a new stadium to bring a Major League Soccer team to the city.
— Umar Lee (@PenofUmar) March 28, 2017
The stadium would require $60 million of taxpayer money, which voters will decide on April 4. Much like other franchise relocation arguments, proponents of the St. Louis soccer stadium believe the city will be economically revitalized and get its money back through tax revenue. Critics tend to have a less optimistic outlook, arguing that it would put more of a burden on city finances.
A 2012 study found that although basketball arenas built in “basketball-only cities during 1995-2009” had positive economic impacts, the research suggests that the typical basketball arena does not add economic value on its own without depending on what’s already happening socially, economically and culturally in the city and surrounding areas.