The Instigator
dogparktom
Pro (for)
Winning
20 Points
The Contender
johngriswald
Con (against)
Losing
17 Points

Professional sports stadiums should be privately funded and owned.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 7 votes the winner is...
dogparktom
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/20/2009 Category: Sports
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 7,592 times Debate No: 10197
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (7)

 

dogparktom

Pro

Resolved, that private investors, not the Minnesota taxpayer, should build a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.

Generally, I oppose public subsidies for private businesses.

Assumption:

The Minnesota Vikings franchise is a profitable enterprise.

Contention:

Currently, the Minnesota taxpayer cannot afford to provide the Vikings with a new stadium. But a group of Minnesota private investors could do so. Thus, the private investor, not the Minnesota taxpayer, should determine whether the Vikings stay in Minnesota or move to LA.

For supporting facts, I rely on the following article:
http://www.twincities.com...

You should make a copy of the article before access requires the payment of a fee.
johngriswald

Con

I would like to thank my opponent for his excellent argument and hope to have a great debate with him. I would also like to thank him for structuring his debate in such an organized manner as it makes it easier and provides a much better debate.

Public investors should partially pay for a new stadium for their pro sports team. To many this question seems absolutely baffling why any public money should be thrown after private.

Normally I'm very against subsidies. However when the thing receiving the subsidy is a positive externality my attitude changes completely.

DEFINTIONS
Externality - An effect on a third party (usually the community as a whole) that is not directly involved in business transaction.
Positive - something that benefits the community as a whole
Negative - something that hurts the community as a whole

Let me give you an example. Suppose you have a fireworks display at your local town. And let's suppose that your town only charges people who pay to sit in a grassy field nearby. So naturally more than half the town decides to sit a little farther away on hill where they have to pay no money to see the display. These are called free riders because they are essentially receiving a good for which they do not pay for. In these type of situations it is often impossible to make the free riders pay up unless you tax them.

In this analogy the people with a front row seat are the ones paying. The businesses that receive more customers due to the increased amount of people in the city (which creates more jobs for the citizens) and the citizens who have higher property value due to the increased jobs in their city and its higher desirability from the stadium are the free riders, the stadium is the fireworks display.

Essentially the NFL does a study of how much economic benefit their stadium produces, presents it to the congressmen, asks for 2/3 of that value or 1/2 giving the citizens a 50% value and the lawmakers decide that it benefits the citizens as a whole so they pay for it.

So as you can see it benefits the citizens economically to pay for a certain percentage of it because of the economic impact it produces. Without the citizens paying for a certain amount of it, the stadium could easily move to another city that would better appreciate its economic impact.

When asked why public funds should finance private facilities for professional sports, supporters cite economics. Football Northwest, Allen's group advocating a new stadium, notes, "Even if you aren't a football fan, the high level of economic activity generated by the Seahawks does affect you. Because of the revenues generated by professional football--$5.4 million are contributed to the local and state general funds--everyone benefits. The Seahawks' total annual economic impact in Washington state is $129 million. In King County alone, the Seahawks generate $103 million per year."
SOURCES: http://www.washington.edu...

This is why the taxpayer should partially pay for the the new stadium, because doing so economically benefits them beyond the cost of the stadium.

I would like to thank my opponent for this interesting debate and wish him luck in his second round.
Debate Round No. 1
dogparktom

Pro

Thanks, Con, for joining me in debate. I'll now wipe the tears from my eyes (due to my fear that the Vikings, like the Lakers and North Stars, may leave Minnesota for greener pastures) and I'll argue:

1. Con's criterions (a 'positive externality' or a 'negative externality') for granting public subsidies and imposing taxes are unlimited and, therefore, will increase political intrigue and corruption.

If Con's criterions were adopted as public policy by the State of Minnesota, the city of St. Paul's population would double overnight. Lobbyists for all types of financial enterprises (private profit seeking businesses, non-profits, etc.) would, like a plague of locusts, descend upon the Capital to beg for subsidies or tax increases from their favorite politicians. Enterprises would seek subsidies or tax increases or decreases to gain a favorable competitive advantage. Political intrigue and corruption would increase dramatically.

Regarding my claim that Con's criterions are unlimited, consider this example of a 'positive externality' from today's Parade Magazine:

" Why should tax dollars go toward helping addicts whose own decisions have gotten them into trouble?
rs are already going to the problems that addicts cause -- whether it's homelessness, the record number of inmates we have locked up in this country, the toll drunk driving takes on innocent people, or other socioeconomic problems." http://www.parade.com...

Regarding the "external problems" - chemical addictions - consider the following illustrative situations:

To battle chemical addictions, the Hazelden Foundation could seek a public subsidy to build another facility. And it could threaten to leave Minnesota if the politicians refused the subsidy. What politician would dare to refuse Hazelden's request? Of course, competing treatment facilities would also expect to receive a subsidy comparable to whatever Hazelden received. There is no limit to the number of potential subsidy requests for the purpose of battling addictions.

To further battle chemical addictions, laws could be enacted which would establish a new industry - "addiction bounty hunters." The bounty hunters would cruise the state looking for intoxicated people to admit to the new treatment facilities which resulted from the public subsidies granted above. Why, the public subsidy of addiction bounty hunters would also attack the current problem of unemployment.

And, of course, there are other addictions that could be battled through public subsidies and increased taxes. Why should public policy privilege only chemical addictions 1

Con's criterions are bad public policy because they are unlimited and their adoption would result in increased political intrigue and corruption.

2. Con's cited articles provide very little support for his argument:

In fact, the experts quoted are more critical, than supportive, of public subsidies for sports stadiums:

Prof. Bill Beyers, an expert on economic impact studies:

"To warm up his audience, Beyers held a "pop" quiz. "I'm going to give you three different percentages for the economic impact of sports on the local economy, and you raise your hand for what you think is the right answer," he said.
"Ten percent." (A good number of hands rise.) "One percent." (A majority of hands are held high.) "One-tenth of one percent." (Hardly a hand in the air.)

"The correct answer is 1/10th of one percent, and even that is probably overstating it," Beyers told the crowd." http://www.washington.edu...

Richard Conway, co-author with Beyers on four economic impact studies:

"Looking at new money only, the economic impact of teams such as the Seahawks and the Mariners begins to shrink. In 1995, the football team's out-of-state revenue generated $66.7 million in local economic activity. The impact of that money amounted to 1,388 jobs in King County. The Mariners' out-of-state funds generated only $42.9 million and 427 jobs according to a 1993 study Beyers and Conway did for the team.

"Compare this to Boeing, a corporation with 99 percent of its impact in new money," says Beyers. "It's new money generates $25 billion in direct economic activity. The scale is totally different." Research institutions such as the UW and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center foster more economic growth too, since they bring in hundreds of millions in new money, Beyers adds, far more than professional sports (see Economic Impact Chart)."

"Looking at the sports jobs that are created with new money, there is another hitch. Almost none of these positions are "family wage" jobs. "A major portion are day-of-game and relatively low wage jobs," Conway says, such as parking attendants and food vendors.

"It's not a lot of job generation," Beyers says. There are approximately one million jobs in King County. "You don't make public decisions about having enterprises like this in our midst on the basis of job creation."
http://www.washington.edu...

Professor Richard Zerbe - quality of life considerations -:

"You have to remember that the Mariners, Sonics and Seahawks are not just enjoyed by the fans in the stadium," adds Conway. "There are hundreds of thousands of fans who watch them on TV and listen to them on the radio. Think about that enjoyment. That has a value."

But measuring that value is close to impossible. Public Affairs Professor Richard Zerbe, an economist who does cost benefit studies, says his field defines a public good as an element the normal market system can't value. Classic examples of public goods are pollution control and national defense, he explains."
http://www.washington.edu...

Political Scientist Bryan Jones:

" Political Scientist Bryan Jones is skeptical about pro sports and the economy. For many years he has studied plant siting decisions by the automotive industry, and he says cities that outbid others for new plants never reached the economic goals they promised. "No one has ever found one economic impact statement that matches the reality once the plant is open. The estimate of tax revenue was always overblown," he states. Jones sees many similarities in the pressures sports franchises place on communities." http://www.washington.edu...

I respectfully contend that Con's argument from a "positive externality" is weak at best.

__________________________
1. " The term "addiction" is used in many contexts to describe an obsession, compulsion, or excessive psychological dependence, such as: drug addiction (e.g. alcoholism, nicotine addiction), problem gambling, crime, money, work addiction, compulsive overeating, credit card addiction, compulsive debting, computer addiction, video game addiction, pornography addiction, television addiction, etc"
http://en.wikipedia.org...
johngriswald

Con

I would like to thank for Pro's excellent rebuttal of my contentions.

1. Pro's entire argument is based upon the assumption that government influence is malicious and isn't in the best interest of the people. An argument which he provides no support for. I would like my opponent to take a look at other subsidizations that benefit the people. Firefighters, police force, public libraries, museums, public beaches, etc.

Public beaches are an excellent example of an positive externality that should be subsidized. Generally for the tourism it brings in.

In economics it is a basic theory to subsidize the externalities that benefit us. And tax the externalities that hurt us.

My opponent also operates on the false assumption that there are tons of private and non profit industries that are a tourist attraction that attract people to the city and raise property value.

"The NFL has the highest per-game attendance of any domestic professional sports league in the world, drawing over 67,000 spectators per game for each of its two most recently completed seasons, 2006 and 2007"
SOURCE: http://www.nfl.com...

My opponent also brought up Drug Rehabilitation programs as an example that shouldn't be subsidized. However he ignores the logic of the situation by easily dismissing it. I personally believe that the people should decide how to spend their tax money, thus, I'm sure, if you took a poll about whether participants would choose Option A and pay a small percentage of their tax dollars to support a drug rehab clinic, or Option B would rather pay a much larger amount of their taxes to fund unemployment, welfare, law enforcement, etc. Most citizens would choose the lower cost option of opening a clinic. Furthermore some of them might not like the surprise bonuses payments of Option B when they are woken up in the middle of the night by a drug-crazed lunatics threatening their lives in exchange for drug money.

Pro's arguments to my contention provides no evidence of industries that would suddenly warrant tax dollars because of their tourism, property value, and economic impact. Furthermore he used ill-reasoned logic and shoddy examples of why my contention is unfeasible.

2. Pros refutation of my sources are misleading at best.

To start out my source was from a site that had a compilation of articles all written and researched by different people. Pro visited the site, choose different articles that supported his opinion, and then is using them in a weak attempt to invalidate my evidence by stating that they came from the same source. No, they aren't from the same source, they are different articles, just the same website that collects these articles.

Furthermore, Pros entire argument is simply a collection of quotations from other people. Quotes that he doesn't bother to explain or arrange in a coherent fashion. Instead of using the quotes to supplement his argument, pro uses the quotes as his entire argument. In fact, my opponent uses more room in his debate for quotations then he does for his own original sentences.

In a basic sense my argument is this: The taxpayers (mainly the residents and businesses located in the city where the stadium exists) should partially fund the stadium to the point where they are receiving a benefit out of the bargain. The economic impacts of the sports stadium can be measured, my opponent believes the same as I do, as he cited multiple times, the value of sports stadiums from almost 17 years ago. An example being: "Looking at new money only, the economic impact of teams such as the Seahawks and the Mariners begins to shrink. In 1995, the football team's out-of-state revenue generated $66.7 million in local economic activity. The impact of that money amounted to 1,388 jobs in King County. The Mariners' out-of-state funds generated only $42.9 million and 427 jobs according to a >>>>1993 study<<<<<<"

Since we both agree the benefits can be determined, then is it not beneficial for the taxpayers to pay in part for the benefit they are receiving both in terms of jobs, business profits, and property values? Many other externalities are funded (such as beaches) which have similarities in terms of their effect on business, property, jobs and tourism.

My opponent is essentially advocating that the taxpayer of Minnesota cut off their nose to spite their face, and let another state reap the tourism simply because government is getting involved.

I would like to thank my opponent for his excellent rebuttal of my contention, and eagerly await another rebuttal of this contention.
Debate Round No. 2
dogparktom

Pro

Today, Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2009, let us return to the proposition: RESOLVED, that private investors, not the Minnesota taxpayer, should build a new stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.

I oppose a tax subsidy to build a stadium for the following reasons:

1. The U.S. is in an economic recession which probably will persist for a few more years at least. The rising national rate of unemployment now exceeds 10%! http://employeeissues.com...

2. Minnesota's faces a serious budget deficit:

"The state faces a short-term problem — a projected budget deficit of $4.4 billion to $7.2 billion in the next two-year budget period — and a long-term predicament — slow economic growth combined with pressures to spend more for services for an aging population that will be less able and less willing to pay higher taxes.
So the next governor is likely to face a fiscal crunch unlike any the state has seen." http://www.twincities.com...

In light of the facts established in 1 and 2 above, an appropriation of millions of dollars for a sports stadium seems unwise.

3. Sources in the article http://www.twincities.com... claim that the Vikings are losing money. Yet, "Neither the Vikings nor the NFL would discuss the team's financial situation..."

I contend that the Vikings are profitable. To receive any consideration for a public subsidy, the Vikings should demonstrate a serious financial need. The Vikings' owners refuse to open their books. I argue that they want a new stadium not to become profitable, BUT SIMPLY TO EARN MORE PROFIT. The article also states:

"In the NFL, ticket and television revenue is divvied up among the league's 32 teams. The real way to make money is through stadiums — naming rights, premium seating, concessions, parking. That money stays home, but the Metrodome — with 100 luxury suites and no club seating — offers the Vikings little in this way."

Clearly, during this economic recession, to receive any consideration for a public subsidy, the Vikings should open their books to show their current profitability or unprofitability.

4. If private investors in LA can build a stadium to GET the Vikings or another professional sports franchise, then private investors in Minnesota can do likewise to KEEP the Vikings here.

I quote from the article:

"The man behind the new effort is real estate developer Ed Roski. He's ready to break ground on a 70,000-seat stadium in Industry, Calif., with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's approval and a list of teams they expect will be interested in relocating."

"The $800 million Los Angeles stadium is purported to be privately financed, though necessary infrastructure improvements are expected to be passed on to taxpayers. Schwarzenegger signed an environmental exception for the site to get the project off the ground. All it needs is a team.

"This is a viable project," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said."

5. Two professional sports teams, The Minneapolis Lakers and the Minnesota North Stars, left the state in years past for greener pastures. The state endured. In due course, they were replaced by the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Minnesota Wild. If the Vikings do move to the greener pastures in LA or elsewhere, the state will endure.

6. The Vikings franchise is a privately owned business enterprise. Con errs when he fails to distinguish a private business enterprise from ESSENTIAL PUBLIC FUNCTIONS, some of which he mentions:

"I would like my opponent to take a look at other subsidizations that benefit the people. Firefighters, police force, public libraries, museums, public beaches, etc.
Public beaches are an excellent example of an positive externality that should be subsidized."

I agree that these functions should be subsidized. These public services, and I would add public schools and public health programs, should be adequately funded (NO BUDGET REDUCTIONS; NO EMPLOYEE LAYOFFS) - BEFORE A SUBSIDY FOR A SPORTS TEAM IS EVEN CONSIDERED.

In a serious economic recession, it is self-evident that public money should be appropriated for essential public services, not to subsidize private profit-making enterprises.

Finally, I will simply note that Con has not really addressed my criticism of his use of the concepts of positive and negative externalities. My criticism basically is that the concepts are unlimited. In other words, Con has not articulated any limits on either public subsidies or public taxes.

In closing, I respectfully the voters to carefully read the following article before voting. http://www.twincities.com... The choice seems to be tax money going to either (a) the wealthy owners of the Vikings or to (b) cops, firefighters, teachers, librarians, etc. A consideration of prudence in public expenditures should guide your vote in this debate.

I love watching the Vikings and would hate to see them leave Minnesota. But the history of professional sports in Minnesota suggests that we can survive their departure, if, indeed, that does happen. Rest assured though, that I'll root for Bret and the boys wherever they play.

Tom
johngriswald

Con

To start off I would like to thank my opponent for this excellent debate.

My opponent in his final round, instead of bolstering his arguments against my contention in Round 1 and 2, drops all arguments and brings up entirely new points. May I remind my opponent that the final round should be a round of summation and furthering of arguments from previous rounds. It is poor etiquette to bring up entirely new points in the final round.

1. Yes the US is in a recession, yes the unemployment rate exceeds 10%. Which is all the more reason not to eliminate nearly a thousand more jobs, and eliminate tourism which is a stimulant for the economy. Tax money does not come from those who are unemployed or are having a rought time, rather it comes from those businesses and people who are succeeding in these dark times. Furthermore if the entire economy is doing bad, then other locations will offer those stadiums less.

2. A budget deficit is not a sufficient reason to spend taxpayer money on something that benefits the taxpayers with more than they spend.

3. The Viking's personal situation as a football team does not exclude them from being a positive externality. I completely agree with you that the motive is to earn more profit and not because they are in dire straits financially. However this doesn't exclude them from being considered a positive externality. If they produce for example 500 dollars for taxpayers in terms of higher property values, business increase and jobs, etc. Then they have 500 dollars worth of bargaining power. The taxpayers of Minnesota can send 250 dollars to keep them there and earn 250 extra in economic benefits. For whatever motive of the sports team, it is economically beneficial to fund a sports stadium with public money.

4. Tourism. LA has plenty of it without the stadium and thus does not need it. However Minnesota has substantially less tourism and would benefit much more greatly than LA would. Furthermore California is much more highly populated than Minnesota. With questions and doubts about the possibility of the Vikings franchise (would like to thank my opponent for his citations), no wise investor would put forth his own money on the line. In LA, its a sure thing.

5. "The state endured." The argument isn't about whether the state will survive, but rather will it profit. This debate is a question of what is best for the state, not whether the state would survive without it. I think you'll agree there's a very substantial difference from endure and thrive.

6. Public beaches although open to the public, are usually a private franchise. Beaches neither serve essential functions nor are publicly owned, yet they receive funding from the people.

"In other words, Con has not articulated any limits on either public subsidies or public taxes."

My opponent himself in his R2 arguments affirmed the fact that the economic benefits can be measured. This is a point I agree upon. If they can be measured then we can determine a dollar amount of benefit. We should spend subsidize something to the point where it benefits the citizen. When it stops benefiting the citizen, you stop subsidizing. If it hurts the citizen you tax it. You stop taxing it when it stops hurting the citizen. These are the limits.

My opponents entire argument has been from the standpoint that even if it is beneficial to subsidize something we shouldn't do it because the industry is private and makes a profit. I am of a different opinion. I believe anything that is beneficial should be subsidized.

If business increases my property value, provides me a job, or makes my business more profitable, I am willing to spend money to keep that positive side effect in occurrence. Is it great if I can get that side effect for free. Absolutely. Do I believe the citizens of Minnesota should try to get it free (paid by private investors) absolutely I do. However if there is no alternative, no private investors step up to the plate, then I am in favor of having the taxpayers partially fund it (paying the lowest amount possible) to get a beneficial side affect that produces more dollars than it costs.

My opponent see to have a fear of government, and with good reason, however if done properly, the citizens of Minesota can thrive instead of just endure.

I would like to thank my opponent for this excellent debate and admit that he was a very formidable opponent.

However, I urge voters to vote Con on the basis that my opponent brought up new points in his concluding round, used mainly all quotations in his second round, tried to mislead the readers on the validity of my sources, and brought up really no strong rebuttal against the main contention by using new points in attempt to affirm his affirmation instead of rebut my contention.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by dogparktom 4 years ago
dogparktom
"Invest in schools, not stadiums"

Here is an essay in thttp://www.twincities.com...'s newspaper that has merit.
Posted by daniel_t 4 years ago
daniel_t
I find I have to write the comments before I have any idea how I will vote, so I might as well publish them. :-)
Posted by johngriswald 4 years ago
johngriswald
Again Daniel_t, you set an example that all voters should follow :)
Posted by daniel_t 4 years ago
daniel_t
The resolution in this case is very general, while the argument (Minnesota should not pay money to help build a stadium for the Vikings,) is quite specific. I got the sense that Con was arguing against the general case while Pro was arguing for the specific case (and made this explicit in Round 3.) Because of this switch in resolutions, I'm giving Con the conduct point.

I find Con's basic contention (that the community should help commensurate to the benefit the community gains,) powerful but I think Pro's contention that there are all kinds of businesses that benefit the community (arguably all businesses do so,) a strong rebuttal. (Con's contention could be used to fund almost any sort of business after all.)

Con's comment in round 2 about public services was, I feel, a red herring. In the case of public services, the community owns the service while in the stadium case, the community is being expected to simply give the money to a private organization. Pro did a good job of making this distinction.

As a result, I'm giving Pro the convincing arguments vote, but I accept that if Con had been as focused on the specific resolution from the beginning, he may have faired better.

Lastly, this argument helped me shape my (new) view on the subject. I think that what the Vikings' investors are doing amounts to extortion and I don't see why Minnesota should give in to it, despite the fact that they might benefit in doing so. If the investors cannot afford the stadium themselves, then they should ask Minnesota to invest with them, and earn a direct share of the profits, rather than expecting to receive a free hand out.

This website, and these sorts of arguments, are a real benefit to me as they help me in forming my own opinions on subjects that directly affect me (as I said in a previous comment, this subject is affecting me in my community too.) I guess, Con would expect me to pay him for this benefit. :-)
Posted by johngriswald 4 years ago
johngriswald
Please leave reasons for decisions as they help both debaters improve and learn from their mistakes.
Posted by dogparktom 4 years ago
dogparktom
I noticed the following letter in today's St. Paul Pioneer Press:

A stadium or a park?
After receiving a solicitation to buy Vikings tickets, I went online to check prices. Needless to say, I was shocked by the outrageous prices. According to the latest Team Marketing Report, it costs a family of four $386.92 to attend a Vikings game, which means fans spend an average of $6,201,457 per game. And this doesn't even include TV revenue.

The Nov. 23 Pioneer Press featured articles about a stadium ("Vikings owner: Find solution to new stadium") and a new state park ("Delays dim chances for Lake Vermillion park").

To all state legislators reading this: Please take just a few of the $700 million that Zygi Wilf is attempting to extort from us and use them instead to purchase the land now available for Vermillion State Park.

Then tell Zygi to go build his own stadium. After all, we're blessed with a never-ending supply of greedy businessmen. However, the chance to create a new state park on one of our most scenic lakes comes but once in a lifetime.

Tom Trooien, Stillwater

http://www.twincities.com...

Assuming for the sake of argument that a new Vikings stadium and a new state park are both POSITIVE EXTERNALITIES, which one, Con, should be funded first? Should the state give the subsidy to the private business or to all Minnesotans and to those tourists who will visit a new state park? What criteria will you use to weigh the two choices?

I seriously doubt that under your 'positive externality' rationale you can justify a subsidy for the Vikings, but not for a new park.

Perhaps Con will address this comment in your concluding response in the final round of the debate.

Tom
Posted by dogparktom 4 years ago
dogparktom
What I find interesting about the Los Angeles situation is that private investors will build a stadium without a public subsidy if first they can get a team franchise, such as the Vikings.

I contend that if LA private investors will do that to GET the Vikings, then Minnesota private investors can do likewise to KEEP the Vikings.

This is an argument that I will be making in due course in the debate.
Posted by daniel_t 4 years ago
daniel_t
This is a pretty common issue all over the United States. The Tampa Bay Rays (a baseball team) are trying to get the county to pay for a new stadium for them in St. Petersburg Florida for example. This directly affects me because I live in the county.

I am following this debate with great interest.
Posted by dogparktom 4 years ago
dogparktom
Koopin,

You should read the comments under the article. There are many Vikings fans who want the team to stay in Minnesota regardless of the cost. I'm not among them. So the issue of public or private funding of professional sports venues is controversial.
Posted by Koopin 4 years ago
Koopin
who is gonna challenge this!?!?!?
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