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Public Dollars, Private Stadiums: The Battle over Building Sports Stadiums Paperback – November 5, 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Public Dollars, Private Stadiums helps us understand the political processes involved in using public money for new sports stadiums. It is a must read for anyone interested in this important new issue."
(Richard E. Lapchick Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University 2099-01-01)

"This book is readable and smart . . . Kevin Delaney and Rick Eckstein show how conflicts over sports subsidies are emblematic of the kinds of power relationships that prevail in each community."
(Lee Clarke author of Mission Improbable: Using Fantasy Documents to Tame Disaster 2099-01-01)

"Every time you hear a politician or millionaire sports mogul start to promote the benefits of building a brand-spanking new stadium, your immediate reaction, as a taxpayer, should be to watch your wallet. This revealing, dead-on investigation of the modern-day sports stadium boondoggle and its often-devastating impact on American cities is an essential read for anyone, sports fan or not, who wants to avoid getting fleeced.
"
(Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times columnist 2099-01-01)

About the Author

Kevin J. Delaney is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Temple University.

Rick Eckstein is an associate professor of sociology and assistant director of the Center for Peace and Justice Education at Villanova University, as well as the author of Nuclear Power and Social Power.

Rick Eckstein is an associate professor of sociology and assistant director of the Center for Peace and Justice Education at Villanova University, as well as the author of Nuclear Power and Social Power.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press (November 5, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813533430
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813533438
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #973,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This was a very interesting book. Written by 2 scholars but easy to read and enlightening to anyone who wants a closer look at how sports teams and cities play off against each other and with competition (other sports teams and other cities).
Also gives an interesting look at the regional dynamics of the different regions of the USA. Very interesting look at how people in various cities in the US see themselves and how the importance of spectator sports ranks relative to other economic and entertainment opportunities in various cities.
A must-read for the average citizen to help make informed choices if and when governments in their area are evaluationg/pushing new stadiums.
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Format: Paperback
I picked up this book because my city is in the middle of a debate as to whether we should finance 65% of a proposed new arena by selling bonds. I am opposed to this proposal, though I am not opposed to public financing in principle--even (or perhaps especially) in a recession. Still, the proposal (and the details of the proposed agreement) seemed wrong-headed to me and I picked up this book to see if anyone had dealt with these of issues before. What I found in these very readable 204 pages amazed me. For not only was the dialogue I was hearing not at all new (this book was published in 2003 but substitute the city's name and the team's name and you have the conversations I am hearing every day) but the underlying issues are not new either. For the battle over the arena, the authors argue is really a battle over who controls the city: a network of corporations, led by banks or the communities of people who live in the city? And cities, the authors say, are controlled by corporations.

To arrive at their conclusion, the authors examine nine cities (two of which have not succeeded in building a new arena) and try to determine: 1) who is pushing for these new arenas and why; 2) how do the people who live in the cities feel about the new arenas; 3) how much revenue do the arenas actually produce; and 4) what happens to politicians who push the arenas.

They discover that the people pushing these arenas (business networks usually headed by major banks) are interested in using them to either "attract high-priced corporate talent" to the city or to attract corporations to the city. As a result, business leaders want the city to be a tourist destination. They want good roads, plenty of parking, cultural recreations such as a sports stadiums, and good restaurants.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although published only in 2003, this book seems strikingly dated now. In no small part that is because of the ongoing clamor over public financing for stadiums around the United States. Since this book’s publication, this trend has continued as virtually every major league city has been held up by owners for new stadiums and indoor arenas. The authors, sociologists at Temple and Villanova Universities, offer cases studies in the debates over public financing of sports arenas and the enormous amount of dollars pulled out of government entities to make them possible. They focus on debates since the 1980s in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Denver, Phoenix, San Diego, Hartford, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia over the financing of stadiums. I should add that in virtually every case a new stadium eventually was built with significant taxpayer involvement. There have been only small success in these political debates in the last 25+ years.

The authors note that any effort to build a new stadium comes first from the sports team owner, who always pleads that without a new arena the team will be unable to complete in the league and will have to move elsewhere. One may question whether or not this is true; in instances where information has come to light the teams are almost never as destitute as the owner states. The result has been, according to the authors, that an estimated $10 billion in public funds has been spent on new sports complexes since the 1980s. Dave Zirin, a lefty sports writer, succinctly argues that if these teams are subsidized by public funds, then the public should have a say in their management.
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Format: Paperback
A very thorough scholarly analysis, and yet, quite an easy read. I recommend this book to any baseball fan, who is also a taxpayer and a voter. I also suggest that you read Curry, T., K. Schwirian, and R. Woldoff. 2004. High Stakes: Bigtime Sports and Downtown Redevelopment (Urban Life and Urban Landscape), after you finish with this book.
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Format: Paperback
This book was an eye opener on the shady practices employed by state and city governments in securing public financing for PRIVATELY owned stadiums.

A great read, particularly if you live in a city that is in discussion with a sports franchise regarding building a new facility. Be wary...be very wary.
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