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Rams Stadium Proposal: Economics Just Don't Make Sense For St. Louis, Taxpayers

The St. Louis Rams' stadium proposal—a half-a-billion-dollar fantasy of glass and sharp edges—is a local issue, but with the Minnesota Vikings' even-larger proposal going through of late and a lot of pre-retractable domes going under the publicly-subsidized knife, the issues that drive the St. Louis debate are going national. Which is why a fascinating article on the problem just came out courtesy the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The conclusion: Football stadiums are not a profitable venture for public funds.

Apparently the Super Bowl, one of the things promised to St. Louisans after they finish paying for Stan Kroenke's new toy, is itself a money-loser; it cost Indianapolis somewhere between a half-a-million and a million dollars.

One of the things that bothers me most about public stadium funding is that it massively distorts the market for new sports stadiums. There's literally no need for a billion-dollar stadium to play in today's NFL, and no reason for the Edward Jones Dome to be considered a relic after 20 years—the only reason it's become one is that the market for these domes and stadiums has been permanently overheated by the amount of public money sloshing around.

If the billionaires who owned the teams were spending their own money, the Edward Jones Dome would probably look perfectly fine.