Stadium Subsidies Everywhere

A blog about business and economics.
April 23 2013 3:09 PM

D.C. United Happy to Pay for Its Own Stadium as Long as It Gets Free Land

SW DC

After I read the headline "Top official for D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray optimistic about D.C. United stadium deal" I immediately became pessimistic. What irrational stadium subsidy scheme ls going to be inflicted on us? But then the article beneath the headline optimistically claims that "D.C. United has agreed to pay for the cost to build a stadium that would would accommodate at least 20,000 fans and also host non-soccer events including college sports and concerts." Great news. Sports team wants a stadium, so the team's going to pay to build the stadium. American capitalism at its finest, right?

Well, there's a catch: "Neither the District nor the team, however, controls the site where the stadium is being planned, a little more than a block southwest of Nationals Park, and the team has made no commitment to pay for the land or roads the stadium would need."

It turns out that the only thing standing between D.C. and a shiny new soccer stadium is a bit more than 10 blocks of free land. That's quite the gift. And in a city whose politicians claim to be obsessed with affordable housing, it's a bit odd. If the city's willing to invest in new transportation infrastructure and doesn't think industrial or quasi-industrial uses of this land are important, why not offer up some infrastructure to encourage developers to build some houses? Seems like it'd be a great opportunity for something aimed at a lower price point than most of the luxury-oriented development we have in the city. After all, there are only 34 games in a Major League Soccer stadium. So D.C. United would be using this stadium for 17 days out of 365. What are we going to do the other 348 days? That's a lot of college sports and concerts.

Advertisement



Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Doublex

Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Learns That Breaking Up a Country Is Hard to Do

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 19 2014 11:36 AM Breaking Up Countries Is Still Hard to Do
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 12:09 PM How Accelerators Have Changed Startup Funding
  Life
The Vault
Sept. 19 2014 12:08 PM The CIA Used to Have a Commute-by-Canoe Club. One Member’s Memories.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM Planned Parenthood Is About to Make It a Lot Easier to Get Birth Control
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 12:10 PM Watch the Trailer for Big Eyes, a Tim Burton Movie About People With Normal-Sized Eyes
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 11:40 AM Apple Invented the Perfect Way to Handle Your Giant New Phone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 12:13 PM The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola  The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.