JERRY JONES, HELPING ‘THE COUNTRY AND THIS WORLD’…. The NFL’s Dallas Cowboys are poised to begin playing in a rather extraordinary new building. The stadium is 3 million square feet, and triple the size of the team’s old home. It cost $1.12 billion to construct.
But Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, whose $1.6 billion team is the most valuable in American sports, turned to local taxpayers to give the franchise a hand.
[Jones] said repeatedly during a lengthy interview that he was sensitive to his fans’ economic woes — although he has not cut prices. He said he was also sensitive to criticism that Arlington had better ways to spend its $325 million contribution from tax increases than to guarantee that Jones, a rich oilman, could get richer with more revenue from the new stadium.
“The mayor sold out and the council went right along,” said James Runzheimer, a local lawyer who opposed the tax increase passed in November 2004 during better economic days. “We don’t provide basic infrastructure, yet we subsidize a team.”
Jones says Cowboys Stadium will be its own stimulus package that will help “the country and this world” dig out of the recession.
Is that so. A building in Arlington, Texas, is going to improve not only the economic conditions of the United States, but also the world.
Somehow, I seriously doubt that. Indeed, the NYT noted, “[M]ost studies show little economic impact from new stadiums.” Dave Brockington added, “The common argument forwarded by proponents, that the stadium itself serves as an economic motor for the neighborhood, city, region, and even state, has rarely found support in the literature.”
What’s more, the local community used eminent domain to clear the area of residential and commercial property. Jones boasts that the affected landowners “came out really well on eminent domain,” neglecting to note that they would have been screwed if they hadn’t hired good lawyers to help them get better compensation.
I’m also curious about just how many families in the area will even be able to afford a ticket. Prices in the taxpayer-subsidized facility range from $59 to $340 a game.
One can, however, purchase tickets to stand on platforms and staircases above the end zones for $29 a head.