Why some markets are still a popular target for public stadium funding, and what it means for the Bills and A’s

Why some markets are still a popular target for public stadium funding, and what it means for the Bills and A’s

Tax dollars for a sports stadium? In this economy?

Despite years of research that show public funding for sports venues is poor public policy, and an ongoing global pandemic that’s roiled many aspects of American life, the billionaire owners of professional sports teams haven’t shied away from asking for handouts.

The latest to do so are the Oakland Athletics and Buffalo Bills, the latter of which seeks $1.1 billion in tax dollars to entirely finance a new stadium, per a Buffalo News report.

The Bills’ owners didn’t initially comment when the newspaper was reporting the story, but once it was published, a spokesman quickly issued a statement denying they want the public to pay for all of it. Just some of it. But the spokesman didn’t spell out exactly how much Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula — pegged by Forbes to be worth $5.4 billion — would like the people of New York to give them to build quarterback Josh Allen and his teammates a new office.

It’s unclear what might happen if the Pegulas, who made their fortune in oil fracking, don’t get the public subsidy they desire. Could the Bills relocate? Austin, Texas, has been floated as a potential new city because it’s a larger, growing Sun Belt city.

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