Nationals Park in D.C. was supposed to be different. We’ve long known that publicly funded sports venues are economic sinkholes that don’t begin to provide any return on investment. But Nationals Stadium was the exception. Since the greater D.C. population is so heavy in terms of out-of-District suburbanites, we were told that, rather than the usual reshuffling of local discretionary income, this ballpark would actually result in economic growth for the municipality in question. Shocking news: It didn’t. Money quote from the WSJ:
So in the end, what did the taxpayers get other than a bill for $611 million? The Washington National’s Web site advertises jobs for elevator operators, fan ambassadors and security guards. The pay is $7.50-$8.50 an hour.
It bears repeating: the public is not duty-bound to buy places of business for professional sports teams. It’s economic self-immolation, and it needs to stop. One day maybe it will.