Insight on Stadium Authorities

There is nothing surprising in the fact that a stadium authority is being floated as a way of getting this stadium going. That's how it's usually done. But its not how the Sox want to do it. And it's not how we do it Massachusetts, therefore its not how Speaker Finneran wants to do it. And Speaker Finneran has said "We don't pay for land for stadiums in Massachusetts."1. Presumably the public authority is a ruse to somehow get finneran's support by saying the land will be owned by the state through the authority but i don't think this avoids a violation of finneran's 'no land purchase' principle.

The mere discussion of a Public Stadium Authority shows that the Sox can't get the Megaplex built on their own. This is true in part because they know we are on to them and they won't be able to just waltz off with the public treasury.

There are opportunities here because things go public, and there are ways of challenging state action that don't exist with private parties. The use of the public stadium authority makes this exactly the same as what has been done elsewhere and NONE of the other stadiums have been able to come close to meeting the public benefit standard. How about an affordable housing authority? How many affordable housing units can be funded for $250 million?

We don't know if the public authority will ever take off, but now is the time to put our minds together to come up with the best approach for tackling it. We must let our elected officials know that it will be costly to champion this because public stadium authorities are always a bad public investment 2. At least one public official has been recalled by his electorate for supporting one of these.

Dan Wilson
Save Fenway Park!

  1. Speaker Thomas M. Finneran's Testimony to the U.S. Congress on Funding Sports Stadiums, June 15, 1999
  2. Reasons to oppose subsides for a Red Sox Megaplex Stadium complex