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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Kicking and screaming over soccer stadium

Delware County Councilman Andy Lewis is fighting against taxpayer funding for the proposed soccer stadium in Chester, noting (among other things) that Major League Soccer might go under, leaving a stadium with no tenant.

The fact of the matter is that taxpayer-funded sports stadiums don't produce new jobs, spur economic growth, or "pay for themselves" - even when they aren't empty bowls.

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TheBitterAmerican said...

You make a valid point, but it would be a shame to see an economic opportunity go to waste. The Philadelphia market is unusual in niche sports in that the proposed MLS team already has a built-in fan base, the Sons of Ben, who have been a presence at MLS games in NY and DC for years. That alone would save the owners a fortune in community outreach and give them an economic advantage of pre-sale season ticket holders.

I'm not a fan of soccer; in fact, I see it as a waste of a good football field ;-)

But in this economy, any sports revenue is better than none, especially with the AFL suspending operations this year.

Anonymous said...

I think that the Sons of Ben are, in reality, comprised of fewer than a hundred individuals, and perhaps a lot fewer if you just count the active members. That's not going to fill a 16,000 seat stadium.

The AFL suspending operations just underscores how unlikely it is that this second- or third-tier sport can survive.

SoB Bolton said...

We've had over 700 unique members show up at events. And supporters' clubs are rarely over a small fraction of the attendance at an MLS match.

And you may want to look at things like merchandise revenue and gate receipts before you call it "second- or third-tier" and lump it with leagues like the AFL and whatnot.