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Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit, Revised and Expanded Edition Paperback – April 1, 2008

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Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit, Revised and Expanded Edition + They Play, You Pay: Why Taxpayers Build Ballparks, Stadiums, and Arenas for Billionaire Owners and Millionaire Players + Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A thoughtful and comprehensive examination of the curious issue of love and money in sport.”—Frank Deford, Senior Contributing Writer at Sports Illustrated and author of The Entitled
(Frank Deford)

“A well-written and poignant analysis of America's stadium mess.”—Andrew Zimbalist, Robert A. Woods Professor of Economics, Smith College, and author of In the Best Interests of Baseball? The Revolutionary Reign of Bud Selig
(Andrew Zimbalist)

Field of Schemes is a superb work of investigative reporting and righteous indignation. The fan pays twice: once for the stadium and again for the ticket to get into the stadium. If enough fans read it, we could break this cycle.”—Allen Barra, sports columnist for the Wall Street Journal and author of The Last Coach: A Life of Paul “Bear” Bryant
(Allen Barra 2007-03-21)

“This is as crystal clear as it gets. Field of Schemes shows exactly how your tax dollars end up in the pockets of sports team owners and players in our fake democracy.”—Jim Bouton, author of Ball Four and Foul Ball
(Jim Bouton 2007-03-21)

“If this book had been around for the Greeks to read, they would have learned that they should’ve billed Troy for the horse.”—Molly Ivins, newspaper columnist, political commentator, and best-selling author
(Molly Ivins)

"In exposing the template used by greedy owners and corrupt politicians, the authors have provided a great service for concerned public officials and fans who no longer have to sit in silence."—Christopher Keshock, NINE
(Christopher Keshock NINE)

About the Author

Neil deMause is a Brooklyn-based journalist who writes regularly for the Village Voice, Extra!, and Baseball Prospectus and runs the stadium-watch Web site fieldofschemes.com.
 
Joanna Cagan is a teacher and writer in New York City. She has written for numerous publications, including the Village Voice, the New York Times Magazine, and Interview.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Bison Books; Rev Exp edition (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803260164
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803260160
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,326 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Roger D. Launius VINE VOICE on September 10, 2014
Format: Paperback
Many writers have explored the subject of how owners of sports teams persuade, cajole, threaten or otherwise intimidate state and local governments into building them at public expense magnificent sporting arenas. This is a fine example of this genre of muckraking journalism. It focuses on the large number of sports specific arenas built at public expense around the nation in the 1980s and 1990s to the tune of some $1.5 billion dollars. Since this book first appeared in 1998, this trend has continued as virtually every major league city has been held up by owners for new stadiums and indoor arenas.

Like most journalism "Field of Schemes" is best in the specifics of telling stories of individual efforts to oppose inititives to build new sports complexes. It follows the stands made against the owners in such cities as Detroit, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Seattle. I should add that in every case a new stadium eventually was built with significant taxpayer involvement. The only small success in these fights was in San Francisco, where the Giants actually paid for the stadium but not before the city made many internal infrastructure improvements to the area.

The best part of the book is Cagan and deMause’s delineation of the steps taken by the owners to obtain new stadiums. The playbook goes like this:
1. The Home Field Disadvantage: the assertion that the current stadium is so old and in such poor shape that it simply must be replaced.
2. Faking a Move: claiming that unless the situation in the local city is remedied the owner will have no choice but to move the team.
3.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By AJ on August 23, 2013
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The book is a must read for any taxpayer who may see one of these objects subsidized in his or her city or anyone who hates to seeing rich business men receive subsidies because "they can't make money." Even though the book is a couple years old, and the stories in it are older, it is unfortunately still as relevant today as it was when it was written and it will probably be relevant to for decades to come. As an economist, I was though I would get more technicalities about how promoters justify the costs against benefits, but it was not in the book. That being said, the narratives the authors create and tell are much more interesting and kept me reading. The New York City chapter is quite depressing, but the book ends with a incredible tale of Fenway park. Finally, I found this book through one of the author's blogs which goes by the same name, Field of Schemes. I would recommend that as well.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Paul Krupin on April 24, 2012
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We had a local baseball association try to get permission from the local school board to give them more than 50 percent of the school property for a baseball field expansion. The tactics in this book helped us persuade the school board not to decide in the associations favor. The decision and rationale for the decision is in the record and it makes it very difficult for any further consideration. Thank you!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael Ted Williams on September 24, 2013
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Excellent book that debunks the myths that sport's stadiums and arenas are good investmens for public tax dollars.The citizens of Minnesota,Sacramento, and Atlanta should read this work as they are in the process of getting fleeced.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a former avid sports fan I can say that my feeling for professional sports changed when "revenue streams" became part of the conversation. This is the first book I have read on the topic of public subsidies for stadia. I have lived long enough to not be surprised by much but the hypocrisy of the politicians is once again in the forefront of this issue.

And one would think that the "free market" billionaire owners of professional sports teams would reject feeding at the public trough as creeping socialism. It's simple selfish greed and the ease with which the politicians roll over is appalling.

I live in Minneapolis and so Art Rolnick of the Minneapolis Fed is our voice of reason...I'm so glad the authors reference his idea - just treat public subsidies as income and tax it accordingly. It is too late for Minneapolis, however, a new Vikings stadium was just approved last fall, even though legal prohibitions were in place to prevent public subsidies over $10 million.

I'm a bit exhausted by this book but the best thing is that it offers strategies and lessons to fight these "free market" parasites who own professional teams and to hold these political hypocrites accountable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Frank Rizzo on May 3, 2014
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It is shocking to read how much public money has been squandered in the pursuit of public funding to support billionaire team owners.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Walter on November 10, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Our City is proposing a 50/50 public private arena to which most residents are opposed. This book was a wonderful insight into how team owners con the public into paying for their dreams. It was enlightening to read the 6 steps that owners use and then relate them back to the tactics our arena supporters are using, textbook! (slightly dated but the principles remain the same)

I bought this for a specific reason but I recommend it to anyone anywhere that a team is asking for public money to fund stadiums etc. As a Kindle download the $9.99 was a reasonable price for a fascinating read.
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