The Superbowl will be played in a stadium largely financed by the taxpayers of Indianapolis, Bloomberg View points out in an editorial that reports, "Public funding for sports stadiums has been found, in dozens of studies over several decades, to fall short of its promised benefits and to cost taxpayers more than expected." The editorial also says, "the economic rationale for publicly financing stadiums is poor," suggesting that stadium subsidies be approved only after public referendums.
This is interesting coming from Bloomberg, which is majority owned by Michael Bloomberg, the same man who as mayor wanted to subsidize a stadium for the Jets on the West Side of Manhattan as part of an effort to attract the Olympics to New York City. The CEO and president of Bloomberg is Daniel Doctoroff, who led the stadium push when he was deputy mayor.
If Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Doctoroff have finally come around to the skeptical side on the stadium subsidy issue, it's great news, though it's too bad that it happened only after New York taxpayers put a lot of money into new ballparks for both the Yankees and the Mets.
Meanwhile, it's interesting that the two teams playing in the Superbowl both have home fields that are subsidy free. The new MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands was entirely privately financed and built with all risk (including financial counter-party risk) borne by the Giants and Jets. And as the New York Sun reminded readers in this 2007 editorial, the Kraft family that owns the New England Patriots explored seeking subsidies to build a new stadium in Boston, but couldn't get a deal. So the Krafts risked their own capital to build Gillette Stadium. A Superbowl in which the two competing teams both have stadiums that are rare examples of free market capitalism in a league where government subsidies are all too common is something to celebrate, no matter which team wins.