Public shells out for Detroit sports stadiums
At the major league level, sports stadiums get built with the help of millions in mean major public dollars, though the promise of economic benefit to the community can prove elusive. Some recent stadium deals in metro Detroit:
Opened as home for the Detroit Lions in 1975 at cost of $55 million in public funds. Lions left for Ford Field in 2002 and deteriorating facility was sold at auction for $583,000 in 2009. Pontiac, under financial emergency, paid more than $1.5 million a year to maintain the roof and other expenses. An auction of stadium artifacts including seats and locker room equipment is scheduled for May.
Joe Louis Arena
After then-Detroit Red Wings owner Bruce Norris threatened a move to Pontiac from aging Olympia Stadium, the city of Detroit offered to build a downtown arena with public funds. The $58 million Joe Louis Arena opened in 1979. Norris paid nothing for facility.
Opened in in downtown Detroit in 2002 at a cost of $430 million. According to the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University, 36 percent of that was publicly financed, including money from tourism excise taxes and $45 million from the Downtown Development Authority.
Proposed Red Wings arena
Nearly 60 percent of the $450 million facility just north of downtown Detroit is to be publicly financed with funds from school and local property tax revenue captured by Detroit's Downtown Development Authority. The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation says the arena, along with an adjacent $200 million entertainment district, will generate more than 8,000 jobs and statewide economic impact of $1.8 billion. The state is to pay for any shortfall to Detroit's per-pupil funding. Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch gets 100 percent of arena revenues, including money from naming rights. The Red Wings pay nothing for use of the arena.
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