clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Why do taxpayers pay billions for football stadiums?

Cities want football teams. Owners want stadiums.

Over the past 20 years, more than $7 billion in public money has gone toward financing the construction and renovation of NFL football stadiums. Owners argue that public investment in private football franchises will bring a boom of economic activity to local economies. But this argument doesn’t hold up.

In reality, stadiums and their upkeep wind up costing cities millions of dollars. For owners, new stadiums mean more profits. They get to host the Super Bowl, sell naming rights to other corporations, and build increasingly opulent and expensive premium seating. For cities, nabbing an itinerant football franchise looking for a new home field can be a big political win. And residents want teams and the hometown pride that comes with it.

Watch the video above to learn why new stadiums aren’t the economic powerhouses owners promise they’ll be and why taxpayers keep footing the bill.

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.