Why Stadium Subsidies Always Win: Q&A with J.C. Bradbury


“One of the things we often find about these stadiums,” explains Kennesaw State University economist J.C. Bradbury, is that “[politicians and supporters] always underestimate the costs and overestimate the benefits.”

Indeed, as Bradbury points out, every independent analysis of subsidies for sports teams and stadiums shows that they suck money out of the local economy. Yet time and again, politicians and team owners succeed in handing the taxpayer a bill. Why is that?

“People see money going into stadiums, people spending their dollars at the stadiums, going to the games,” says Bradbury, who writes widely on the economics of sports. “Really, this is just a transfer from locals. Instead of spending their money on movies or going out to eat, they’re going to a sports game, and so it looks like it’s generating a lot of money.”

Reason’s Nick Gillespie sat down with Bradbury at Freedom Fest to talk about the city of Atlanta’s $1 billion promise to build a new stadium for the NFL’s Falcons.

Held each July in Las Vegas, Freedom Fest is attended by around 2,000 limited-government enthusiasts and libertarians. Reason TV spoke with over two dozen speakers and attendees and will be releasing interviews over the coming weeks. Go here for an ever-growing playlist of this year’s interviews.

LC-logo-weekly-newsletter

A free, once–weekly e-mail round-up of liberty news, articles and activism.