Manfred: Taxpayer Funding  Of Stadium Construction Is  A Quality Of Life Issue

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Manfred thinks politicians should spend money on stadiums.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred knows part of his job description includes being a lobbyist and finding public money for his 30 owners if any of them need a new or renovated stadium and they don’t want to pay for all of the venue’s cost by themselves. Manfred is now pushing a new line. Building a stadium is a quality-of-life issue. Oakland Athletics’ owner John Fisher wants $380 million from Nevada taxpayers to help fund a Las Vegas baseball park for Fisher’s business. Manfred is trying to justify the expenditure.

Manfred told the Associated Press that baseball provides a boost to an area’s economy and it makes sense to help finance a stadium although that has never been proven to be true. “There has been a long history of public financing of not just baseball but sports venues in general. Expenditure, public funds that people have seen as justified as part of the quality of life and entertainment opportunities available to residents in particular cities, as well as an economic driver. Certainly on the latter point, I recognize this is something that some will debate, but whatever the merits of it across the board, investment in baseball facilities is the best of the investments because of the number of games. It just drives more people into the market for entertainment than any other sport just based on sheer volume.” Manfred has to convince someone in Arizona to invest hundreds of millions of dollars for a new or renovated Phoenix ballpark. The Tampa Bays Rays’ stadium issue has not been resolved. There is the Kansas City issue where voters said no to extending a sales tax with that money going into a new Royals’ stadium. Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker doesn’t want to invest in a new White Sox park. Manfred is a busy lobbyist.

Rob Manfred

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