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Teams Scoring Billions in Public Funds for New Stadiums, Renovations

  • Teams have secured at least $4.3 billion in public stadium funds since 2020, with more on the way for the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans.
  • Studies have questioned whether sports venue financing benefits taxpayers.
Arial view of Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sports teams looking for new homes could one day face a different financial landscape, but for now many are cashing in on public funds.

Since 2000, professional sports teams have secured $4.3 billion in public funds for stadiums and arenas, with more on the way, per CNBC. A separate source put the figure at an inflation-adjusted $27 billion since 1990.

  • The Tennessee Titans future domed stadium is estimated to cost $2.1 billion, with Nashville providing $500 million in direct payments and $760 million through revenue bonds.
  • State and local governments agreed to cover $850 million of the coming $1.4 billion Buffalo Bills stadium.
  • The Oakland A’s have agreed to privately fund a new $1 billion stadium and surrounding $12 billion waterfront development, provided that Oakland can secure state and federal funding for infrastructure improvements beyond the $279.5 million already in the state budget.

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has sought to maintain a precedent of all new stadiums receiving public contributions.

Is it Worth It?

Studies have found that taxpayers do not recover the amount they give up through increased revenue, tourism, and other sources.

An analysis of 130 studies on the economic impact of sports teams and venues found that they “are not associated with having strong economic impacts on local communities.”

Las Vegas officials claim to be on the way to recovering their $750 million investment in the $1.9 billion Allegiant Stadium.

Legislation to bar public funding for stadiums has been introduced in the last two sessions of Congress but has yet to become law.