The Ringer’s reporter Dan Moore took a deep dive into the lasting impact and legacy of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. As Good Jobs First Executive Director told The Ringer, stadium subsidies are a losing proposition, and Oriole Park is no exception.
“According to Greg LeRoy, founder and executive director of Good Jobs First, a national policy resource center with a focus on promoting corporate and government accountability, such subsidies “are simply not economic generators.” There are several reasons why. It’s fairly common for local governments to offer private companies various subsidies, abatements, and inducements as a means of encouraging them to build plants, factories, or headquarters within their city or state lines. The hope is those plants and factories will create enough economic value to justify the investment. A subsidized auto plant or complex manufacturing facility, for example, might create “upstream ripple effects” in the way it incentivizes parts suppliers to set up their own shop close to the manufacturing facility—and to in turn create jobs—or it might create “downstream ripple effects,” by way of the “jobs created by the buying power of the people that work at the facility.”
Subsidized stadiums, LeRoy said, create tiny ripple effects. The team owners who benefit most from them tend not to reinvest their earnings into the local economy, at least not the way the owners or employees of small businesses do. In fact, what economic activity that subsidizing team owners does encourage tends to occur at the expense of other businesses in the region. This happens through what economists call the “substitution effect,” or the cannibalization by stadiums of spending that was occurring elsewhere in a city before a new stadium arrived. ”
Read the full story at The Ringer.