Congratulations, Las Vegas: You’ve made a terrible mistake

Photo: Anthony Moretti, 29May2016

Photo: Anthony Moretti, 29May2016

The New York Times suggests Nevada’s leaders fell prey to the (failed) belief that bringing an NFL team to town is a ticket to prosperity.

The problem for cities like Las Vegas, desperate to land an N.F.L. franchise — or cities trying to hold on to a team that is demanding a new, state-of-the-art stadium — is that the billionaire owners of these franchises usually expect municipalities to pick up part of the tab for the new arena. There are few municipalities that don’t succumb (though Oakland, to its everlasting credit, is one of them, which is why Davis wants to move). To justify using tax dollars to subsidize N.F.L. owners, officials invariably point to the jobs that will be added, the infrastructure that will be improved and the economic activity that will ensue.

And in almost every case, those benefits are overstated or bogus. The academic literature on this point is nearly unanimous. Brad Humphreys, who has done a number of such studies as an economics professor at West Virginia University, told me bluntly that a new stadium brings “no economic benefit.” All it does is move spending to a football game that was otherwise being spent somewhere else.

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This entry was posted in economics, Las Vegas, Nevada, NFL. Bookmark the permalink.

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