We're Stuck Paying for Abandoned Stadiums

New Jersey still owes $110M on what's now a parking lot
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 8, 2010 11:32 AM CDT
New York Giants president and CEO, John Mara talks about some of the high-tech features of the new Meadowlands football stadium Monday, Aug. 23, 2010, in East Rutherford, N.J.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

(Newser) – The old Giants Stadium is a parking lot now, but New Jersey residents still owe $110 million on it. Seattle's King County currently owes more than $80 million for the Kingdome, which was demolished in 2000. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Houston Kansas City, Memphis, and Pittsburgh are all still paying for arenas that have been abandoned by their teams or razed outright, the New York Times reports.

Giants Stadium is the most expensive of those missteps, and it’s that expensive mainly because politicians kept kicking the bill down the road. The stadium was supposed to pay for itself with its horseracing track, but even in 1976 analysts thought that was a bad gamble. A series of expansions over the years didn't help either. “The Meadowlands wasn’t a bad idea, says one Manhattan Institute fellow. "But rather than pay it off, they let it ride."

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