BB&T Gets Naming Rights for Knights Stadium, Charlotte City Council Debates Public Assistance

April 24, 2012 at 3:37 pm 1 comment

BB&T Corp was able to secure naming rights for the proposed Charlotte Knights baseball stadium late last week.  The total cost for the stadium is estimated at $74 million. The minor league team has already secured $28 million in aid from Mecklenburg County. But it is unclear how much aid it will be able to get from the City of Charlotte.

Under the most recent proposal, which will be voted on by the Charlotte City Council in May, the stadium would be financed through $7.5 million from Knights owner Don Beaver and$30 million from naming rights, suite sales, and sponsorships– leaving $36.65 million to be picked up by the public. Mecklenburg County would provide $8 million for infrastructure and would lease the 8 acres of land for the stadium, a value of $20 million, for $1 per year. The City of Charlotte would provide the remaining $8.5 million through hotel/motel tax revenue and property taxes generated by the stadium.

Supporters of the stadium say that it would boost economic activity in the area, even though the Knights have among the lowest attendance in the entire league. Even if the team is able to double attendance, as it promises,will the stadium actually generate economic growth for the City and its residents?

It is well documented that for all the hype around big projects like stadiums, they hardly generate the economic growth and jobs that they promise. Baseball is seasonal and half of the games would be played in other cities and towns, leaving the stadium unused for a significant part of the year. The jobs created would also be temporary and seasonal, and mostly low-wage. Even the indirect impact of the surrounding economy are questionable. Around the country, from New York to Los Angeles and everywhere in between, cities and states have invested millions into similar projects, with little real benefit for their communities.  As reported by Good Jobs First,

“The conclusion of the overwhelming majority of studies is that stadium subsidies do not pay off in terms of economic growth or job creation. The limited number of jobs that might be created come at a high cost to taxpayers—often well above $100,000 each.”

The push for a stadium in Charlotte is particularly questionable now, when the city and state are already strapped for resources.  Charlotte is facing an increase in the property tax, as well as increases in water fees and transportation fares. And the Charlotte Observer has reported that despite a modest increase in revenue, the City does not have enough funds for sidewalks (even where two young boys were killed after being hit by a delivery truck), roads, affordable housing, or neighborhood improvement.

The Council’s efforts would be better spent supporting the City Manager’s Capital Plan, which would use the increased property tax revenue to support infrastructure improvements in the City’s oldest and most distressed areas. These are the investments that would generate real economic benefits for communities in the long run.

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Entry filed under: Economic Development. Tags: .

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1 Comment

  • […] John Connaughton, an economics professor at UNC Charlotte, put his estimate at 18,000– a figure that has been used in promotional materials by supporters of the project, including television commercials. However, the Federal Highway Administration issued a memo stating that Connaughton had overestimated the job creation impact. In fact, the NC Turnpike Authority had estimated that the Garden Parkway would result in 900 jobs lost in North Carolina, and that South Carolina would gain 600 jobs.  (Interestingly, Connaughton also drafted the economic impact study for another controversial and costly project, the Charlotte Knights stadium.) […]


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