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Football Stadiums

by Gotham Gazette Staff, May 02, 2005
 

FOOTBALL STADIUMS

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New York Sports
and Convention Center

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King Dome

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Georgia Dome and World Congress Center


Edward Jones Dome & America Center

Location:

West Side, Manhattan

Seattle, Washington Atlanta, Georgia St. Louis, Missouri
Opening Date: Fall 2009 (projected)
1992 1995
Uses: New York Jets football games, 2012 Olympic Games, large convention gatherings, 2010 Super Bowl, concerts, and other events. Atlanta Falcons football games, 1996 Summer Olympics, NCAA Final Four, Super Bowls, concerts, conventions, religious events. St. Louis Rams football team, conventions, concerts, monster truck rallies, and the 1999 Mass led by Pope John Paul II.
Size: Seats 75,000 people Seats 71,228 people Seats 60,600 people
Cost: $1.7 billion $210 million $280 million
Public Cost: $600 million ($300 million each from the city and the state) The state donated the land. A hotel tax pays the 30 percent of the total cost covered by public funds. $60 million from city and state, plus $6 million in year in city funds for debt payments.
Private Financing: $800 million from New York Jets. An additional $1.9 billion is needed to extend the No. 7 train, which developers plan to pay for with tax revenue from neighboring development.
Construction of the Georgia Dome was financed through tax-exempt industrial revenue bonds issued by the Georgia World Congress Center Authority. It was also subsidized by the sale of luxury boxes, which ranged from $20,000 to $120,000. Financed by private investors, including TWA Airlines, which relinquished its role in 2001. Edward Jones purchased the naming rights in January 2002 for $2.65 million a year.
Voter Referendum?

No

No. No
At Issue: The proposed West Side stadium is the most expensive in the nation and calls for $600 million in public subsidies. The 2012 Olympics is not a guarantee. Some argue that the financing for the stadium circumvents the city’s budget process. Many economists doubt that the convention business will pay off as promised because other costs (like hotel room rates, transportation, etc) make New York less competitive than other locations. Local residents are concerned about traffic, parking, and noise. The MTA is projecting billions of dollars in deficits for years to come and has not made the extension of the No. 7 line a priority. Discussions about a new football stadium began in 1984 when the Atlanta Falcons wanted a new facility that they would not have to share with the Braves baseball team. In 1989, approval came from the state, the Atlanta City Council, and Fulton County Commission to build a dome stadium only if it was connected to the convention center and supported by the hotel tax. The plan gained considerable momentum after Atlanta was awarded the 1996 Olympics. Atlanta built numerous other sports venues for the Olympics and a new baseball stadium for the Atlanta Braves baseball team. A few years before the stadium was built, St. Louis approved new taxes to pay for $150 million expansion of the convention center. In 1999, after the stadium failed to increase convention center business, officials agreed to build a new 1,000-room hotel next to the center to help generate business. The plan was subsidized with $98 million in federal funds, $80 million in city aid, and $21 million in state tax credits. The hotel still only operates at 55 percent occupancy.
Benefits Promised: The New York Sports and Convention Center would serve as the home of the New York Jets football team and the Olympic Stadium if New York wins the 2012 Olympic bid. It features a retractable roof and a changeable floor plan so that the stadium can be converted into a large event space for the Jacob Javits Convention Center. The plan would give New York City the fifth largest convention center in the nation. Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the stadium will create 18,000 construction jobs and 6,900 permanent jobs. He promises the plan to expand the convention center will increase tourism, boost the hotel industry, and provide development for the west side of Manhattan. A main objective was to keep the professional football team in Atlanta. Combined with the World Congress Convention Center, officials promise that the dome would help draw big sporting events and increased convention business. The city said that the expanded stadium/convention center would triple convention center business and generate $12 million a year in new tax revenues. They also predicted an increase in hotel business.
Benefits Delivered: The Georgia Dome has been a popular sports venue hosting two Super Bowls, NCCA Final Four basketball games, and college football games. Atlanta’s convention center drew record attendance through much of the 1990s. However, despite expanding convention space by an additional 1.4 million square feet in 2002, convention attendance is now half of what it was in 1995. According to a study by the Brookings Institution, the plan has not generated the expected tax revenue or convention business. Convention attendance dropped in recent years from 156,000 to 115,300 between 2000 and 2004. Although organizers promised 50 major conventions a year, in 2004, it only had 23.

 


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