Proposed New Yankee Stadium Could Cost $400 Million; Taxpayers Won’t Break Even, But Bronx Would Lose Parks
Nation’s Most Valuable Sports Franchise Seeks Massive Taxpayer Subsidies and a Grab of Park Lands in the Nation’s Poorest Congressional District
New York, NY February 7, 2006 – A proposed new stadium for the New York Yankees would cost taxpayers far more than public officials and team executives have stated, a watchdog group reported today. The costs – in excess of $400 million – would actually exceed the benefits to taxpayers, according to “Loot, Loot, Loot for the Home Team,” the analysis released today by Good Jobs New York.
In addition, the proposed stadium would cause Bronx residents to lose one popular park and much of a second park; the park seizures were quietly enacted by the state legislature in June 2005.
The team, headed by Randy Levine, the city’s former deputy mayor for economic development, has moved aggressively with city and borough officials to grease the new-stadium subsidy deal with extraordinarily limited public participation. That, combined with the covert park seizure, has left many Bronx residents resentful and concerned.
Contrary to official claims of job creation and economic benefits, the report shows the fiscal benefits will not outweigh the over $400 million in subsidies proposed for the project and many “permanent” jobs will actually be low-wage and seasonal and therefore won’t lift workers out of poverty.
“This proposal is a boondoggle waiting to happen,” said Bettina Damiani, Director of Good Jobs New York, “The city should start from scratch with an inclusive planning process that really involves the community, and every possible option – including renovation of the existing stadium – should be fully explored.”
At the center of the development is the controversial takeover of 22 acres of park land next to the current stadium for the new stadium and parking garages. The New York State Legislature voted to seize the parks without public notification or hearings. Taxpayers will bear the cost of any new replacement park space and the demolition of the current stadium. An estimated 3,000 new parking spaces will be partially subsidized and built mostly on the parkland, causing more air pollution in a community with the highest asthma rates in the city. Plans to replace the parks have been deemed woefully inadequate by residents.
A report commissioned by the New York City Economic Development Corporation and obtained by Good Jobs New York estimates the tax revenue from the stadium would not be enough cover its public subsidy.
“Stadiums are notoriously bad investments for taxpayers and this proposal is no exception,” said Dan Steinberg, Research Analyst for GJNY. “The Yankee project doesn’t require subsidies; the team has access to private financing and the last thing it needs is another competitive advantage.”
Highlights of proposed subsidies include:
- $24 million to demolish current Yankee stadium
- $44 million in property tax breaks
- $25 million in sales tax breaks on construction materials
- Tax-exempt financing for the stadium construction
- $103 million to replace 120 year-old Macomb’s Dam park seized by legislators for stadium and parking lots
- $70 million to build parking garages
The new ballpark could also affect the finances of teams in smaller markets. Since Major League Baseball allows teams to deduct all stadium construction debt from their gross revenues, the Yankees will share millions of dollars less with smaller-market teams as part of the league’s revenue sharing program.
The report offers public policy options such as:
- New York City should use its strong bargaining power as the largest sports and media market in the United States to insist that the Yankees exhaust every available option – including stadium renovation instead of replacement – with the goals of creating good jobs, lower taxpayer costs, better public health, and more vibrant public parks.
- The planning process must include community stakeholders. The stadium project will never achieve the above goals unless the community is genuinely involved in the process.
- GJNY’s research reveals recurring inconsistencies between city and state agencies on the deal’s costs and benefits. A full accounting of both the true subsidy costs and realistic public benefits is necessary for a more informed debate.
# # #
Want to know who applied for a subsidy? Sign up for our "Subsidy Alert"
GJNY takes a close look at the proposed subsidy package--worth nearly $130 million--for Fresh Direct to relocate to the South Bronx. In early 2012, Fresh Direct started a bidding war between New York City and New Jersey officials when it threatened to leave its current home in Long Island City, Queens. Learn more about the subsidies, job promises and the efforts of residents to block the on-line grocery retailer's move to their waterfront.
As government aid begins to flow into areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy, Good Jobs New York will provide analysis and recommendations regarding these resources that promote a transparent and equitable allocation of funds that go to individuals and businesses that need it most.
Our database contains information on thousands of companies that received economic development subsidies in New York City.
Learn about major corporate giveaways to the financial industry, sports facilities and retail developments in New York City.