Virginia Beach’s latest attempt to gin up an excuse to shovel money to developers involves vague rumors of an NBA team’s possibly maybe someday coming to town. The city has already spent the better part of $1,000,000.00 on this, mostly on the q. t.
It’s a bunch of sound and fury signifying that promoters want to raid the public treasury, despite the reality that the tales of an economic boom resulting from pouring public money into pro sports invariably turn out to be somewhere on the continuum between fantasy and hokum. Here’s a nugget from the Minneapolis Post (much longer analysis at the link):
Moreover, the building of stadiums merely transfers consumption from one area or one type of leisure activity to another, and overall, sports and stadiums contribute little to the local economy and instead represent an investment that costs the public a lot while failing to return the initial investment. Dollar for dollar, the opportunity costs of investing in sports stadiums is a terrible option if the goal is economic development, job development, or producing new economic development in a community. In short, the nearly $3 billion in sports subsidies it documented produced little, at the cost of over $120,000 per job.
Something about the sight of large men playing with small balls turns the minds of mayors and other local Babbitts to frat-boy-tailgate-party-anticipating mush.