NFL Cities Buy Status

Of the 20 stadiums built since the Georgia Dome opened, four have been privately financed. Of the rest, the average public share is 73% of the total cost.

That’s the Economist on football stadiums. The impetus is the recent plan for the new home of the Falcons: $1bn split more or less evenly between taxpayers and the team. Why do taxpayers want to spend this kind of money on white elephants?

Well, mainly because there are only 32 football teams and economic capacity for a lot more than that. Forgetting ridiculous Green Bay and Canada-sapping Buffalo, the two low-end economic outliers, you get an effective minimum GDP for a mero area of about 60bn. Here’s my data and here’s my source.

Even ignoring LA (and San Bernardino and San Jose) there are no fewer than 15 metro areas with over 60bn GDP and no gridiron. Think any of these cities would chastely hold back if LA starts screwing up its next shot at an NFL team?

Remember, this ain’t the slums of Bangalore: the #1 job of a politician in the USA is to make his/her constituents feel like they’re high status. NFL owners, scarce asset firmly in their grips, are happy to play bidders off each other.

Addendum: here are the cities (note I added San Jose and San Francisco together in the San Fran row):

City 2010* Teams GDP/Team
New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA 1,280,517 2 $640,259
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA 735,743 0
Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI 532,331 1 $532,331
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 425,167 1 $425,167
Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX 384,603 1 $384,603
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 374,081 1 $374,081
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD 346,932 1 $346,932
San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA 494,444 2 $247,222
Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH 313,690 1 $313,690
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA 272,362 1 $272,362
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL 257,560 1 $257,560
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 231,221 1 $231,221
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 199,596 1 $199,596
Detroit-Warren-Livonia, MI 197,773 1 $197,773
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ 190,601 1 $190,601
San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA 171,568 1 $171,568
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 168,517 0
Denver-Aurora-Broomfield, CO 157,567 1 $157,567
Baltimore-Towson, MD 144,789 1 $144,789
St. Louis, MO-IL 129,734 1 $129,734
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA 124,683 0
Pittsburgh, PA 115,752 1 $115,752
Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 113,702 1 $113,702
Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC 113,568 1 $113,568
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 109,818 0
Kansas City, MO-KS 105,968 1 $105,968
Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH 105,625 1 $105,625
Indianapolis-Carmel, IN 105,163 1 $105,163
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 104,107 0
Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN 100,594 1 $100,594
Columbus, OH 93,353 0
Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Roseville, CA 92,873 0
Las Vegas-Paradise, NV 89,799 0
Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT 87,963 0
Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX 86,029 0
Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 84,882 0
Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI 84,574 0
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX 82,036 0
Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN 80,898 0
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC 80,518 0
New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA 71,476 1 $71,476
Salt Lake City, UT 66,456 0
Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA 66,334 0
Memphis, TN-MS-AR 65,025 1 $65,025
Richmond, VA 64,321 0
Jacksonville, FL 60,303 1 $60,303
Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN 58,572 0
Oklahoma City, OK 58,339 0
Raleigh-Cary, NC 57,278 0
Birmingham-Hoover, AL 53,834 0
Honolulu, HI 51,327 0
Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA 47,556 0
Rochester, NY 45,742 0
Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY 45,150 1 $45,150
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Green Bay, WI 15,270  1  15,270
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