From time to time, we have blogged about the problems of municipal waste of taxpayers’ money which cities have been squandering in their efforts to attract and support sports arenas. It appears that now the predictable is happening. Charles V. Bagli, As Arenas Sprout, a Scramble to Keep Them Filled, N.Y. Times, June 29, 2009, reports that there are just plumb too many arenas, even for a big market like New York:
“In the inaugural season for the new ballpark for the New York Yankees and Mets, the teams have been embarrassed by television shots showing vast areas of premium seats going unsold.
“But those who study sporting facilities say empty seats may become even more commonplace here, as New York faces a glut of sport arenas.
“Five major complexes — four existing and one planned — will soon be slugging it out within an area 30 miles wide.
“At least two of the existing arenas already lose money and experts say further casualties are almost guaranteed.”
And in Brooklyn, Forest City Ratner is rushing the start of construction of yet another sports facility, an arena for the Nets, which, if successful, will add another sports arena to the glut.
“By the time the arena in Brooklyn, which will be called Barclays Center, is built, there will be a total of nearly 100,000 seats to fill, 365 days a year.”
Moreover, this problem is not confined to New York. Bagli reports that similar difficulties are unfolding in New Jersey, Arizona, Minnesota, and Ohio. And given that the current recession is not disappearing, it looks like these folks are in for — shall we say? — interesting days. And so are the taxpayers who, lest you forget, are subsidizing this whole shebang with your tax dollars.