Have public finance principles been shut out in financing new sports facilities in the United States?
Over the past 15 years, new stadiums in the National Football League have been built at an unprecedented rate, and most new facilities have utilized significant public funds. This paper looks at whether the methods used to finance these new facilities honored public finance principles regarding equity, efficiency, and transparency. An examination of the 20 NFL stadiums constructed or refurbished since 1992 reveals a trend towards more voter referendums and an increase reliance on taxation of visitors through hotel and rental car taxes. Although taxation of persons living outside one’s own metropolitan area is appealing, this paper suggests that the benefits of these taxes are not nearly so clear.
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