Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Stadium building....


If you haven't already, start reading It Get's Through Buckner! a great sports blog from policythought reader Bryan Pol. The following was going to be a comment on his post Washington Baseball Economics, but it got so long-winded that I decided to take a break from endless primary coverage and talk a little sports and a little civics....

Sports arenas have been both a boon and a boondoggle for American cities in the past. I was for proposed west side stadium here in Manhattan, not really because I wanted to see the Jets come back to the boroughs but because NY needs a world-class convention center, which the stadium would have provided. Alas, that deal was struck down for other, economically solid reasons.

While Bryan makes a great argument about education I have an even simpler one. Essentially stadiums are touted as an improvement to city-wide infrastructure. Especially in the case of baseball, a new stadium attracts people it at least 81 times a year and boosts business. But if we're talking about infrastructure, why not talk about the flagging infrastructure of most major American metropolises? Urban populations are climbing and urban roadways are crumbling. Traffic statistics are through the roof. If the goal is to improve city wide infrastructure and improve the climate for local businesses-why not build some more roads?

I think the answer is sports arenas are far less expensive (relatively), and pose far less short-term headache than rebuilding a highway structure. So it becomes a way to "improve infrastructure" without all the heavy lifting of actually improving infrastructure.

1 comment:

Bryan Pol said...

Your idea is especially pertinent to Philadelphia and Baltimore. What Citizen's Park has done for Broad Street and what Camden Yards has done for the Inner Harbor is nothing shy of a renaissance. But those roads are a-shambles. Lord knows I wouldn't want to drive my car to either respective stadium.