This week's installment of the small market roundtable focuses on stadiums. Sean Yullie over at Pride of Detroit focused on Ford Field. It was pointed out in the comments that despite the new field, the recent losing seasons have taken its toll on the bottom line and Detroit is near the bottom in revenue. Although it might be obvious, a new stadium alone is not a cure-all.
Another point raised in the comments is that although these stadiums keep our teams competitive, the bottom line is it makes the rich team owners even richer. I couldn't agree more, but I also understand that your perspective may change when it's your team that will suffer without the new stadium. However with the salary cap, it isn't clear that an NFL team suffers on the field because of a poor stadium and primarily the losing is a result of bad team management. San Francisco hasn't been hurt because they play in old Candlestick Park, but that the team wasted 1st round picks on guys like CB Mike Rumph. The Packers opened renovated Lambeau Field in 2003, but they have hardly spent like Daniel Snyder in free agency over the past few offseasons.
Ford Field opened in 2002 and cost $430 million to build while the Packers spent $290 million not for a new stadium, but for a remodel. Would they have been better off building a whole new stadium?
What did the taxpayers in Brown County get for their $290 million in extra sales taxes paid? After mentioning the bronze statutes and new scoreboards the next thing mentioned is:
The new football facilities also feature a much larger training room with all of the latest therapy pools as well as a permanent X-ray machine, a new weight room, individual position meeting rooms with theatre-style seating, a 150-plus seat team auditorium, a basketball court with a parquet floor, two racquetball courts, a team dining room and a players' lounge.
At the time it really surprised me that there was fierce opposition to the sales tax and the that the vote for the new sales tax was so tight. How could the people in Brown County oppose something for the Packers?
The campaign also surprised national observers, who assumed that a community known for its support for the team would translate into support for a sales tax that would have cost the average resident, at least in the beginning, $46 a year or $120 a year for the average family.