(Drew Johnson is a Senior Fellow at the Taxpayers Protection Alliance) This weekend (and Monday) is the culmination of one of the most exciting annual sports tournaments, The Final Four. The past three weeks was a showcase of the best of sports. Unfortunately this year’s installment of the Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament has also featured some of the worst examples of wasteful government spending in America. Each of the 13 stadiums and arenas that hosted 2012 tournament games have ripped off taxpayers for millions of dollars. All told, the venues have burned through a combined $2.7 billion in tax money. Taxpayers have subsidized everything from the construction, to the renovation, to the operational expenses of these arenas in a variety of forms: state and local grants, land giveaways, favorable lease arrangements, federal disaster relief funding and every type of taxpayer-funded bond imaginable.
Today, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance today announced a review of taxpayer-funded stadium subsidies by Drew Johnson, a Senior Fellow at TPA. In the exposé, TPA uncovered that all 13 venues hosting games during the 2012 Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament have received millions of dollars in tax money. In total, the arenas used in this year's NCAA Tournament have cost local, federal and state taxpayers a combined $2.7 billion. "While taxpayers shell out millions subsidizing arenas, there are plenty of folks who are raking it in. Professional team owners who use the facilities regularly, media outlets broadcasting tournament games and the NCAA itself are all making millions on the backs of hard working taxpayers," Johnson said. "We all love a Cinderella story, but stadium subsidies are one game where the little guy never wins."
September is here and the dog days of summer have disappeared, which means baseball’s pennant races are heating up. Nothing is more synonymous with September in America than baseball and, unfortunately, nothing is more synonymous with baseball these days than hefty taxpayer-funded handouts to subsidize ballparks. Minneapolis residents recently learned this the hard way when the Minnesota Twins unveiled their new stadium, Target Field. By the time Target Field opened in 2010, Hennepin County taxpayers paid $350 million of the $555 million price tag of the new Twins ballpark, which translates to $303 for every man, woman and child in the county. Minnesota taxpayers, many of whom will never see the Twins play a game at their fancy new digs, were also forced to chip in $5.5 million towards the ballpark’s bottom line.