There was a time in my life when I might actually have been naive enough to be reassured by this story about the PG County General Assembly committee voting 5-0 to oppose the proposed stadium development. In particular I would have noted the quote “Council member Eric Olson (D-College Park) said he is not convinced that the stadium, slated to cost $180 million to $195 million, will become the economic engine for the county that its backers describe,” given my personal belief that nobody has ever produced a quality study demonstrating a tangible economic return from a publically financed stadium.
I’ve been through this dance enough times by now, however, to know that this is almost certainly just the first step for the local politicians. Once they’ve beat their chest a few times to set up their fiscal responsibility credibility they’ll use this faux reluctance to garner some campaign contributions and trivial consessions from the team managment. Then before you know it everyone’s a booster.
What you have to look forward to:
“Williams also has sent a letter to Major League Baseball proposing $ 200 million in financing options. City officials have said a stadium could cost $ 300 million or more, with the money coming from a mix of public and private sources.” [WaPo, Poll Finds D.C. Split on Funding Baseball Site, June 6, 2002]
To “Deputy Mayor Eric Price held up a chart of MLB’s last 11 stadium mega-deals, and suggested to the committee that the proper mix had settled at about two-thirds public funding to one-third private — a deal that would cost the District more than $ 250 million but also would cost MLB more than $ 100 million.” [WaPo, Baseball Awaits Money Pitch, Mar 19, 2003]
And end up at “Major League Baseball delivered a signed document to attorneys for the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission yesterday afternoon, agreeing to the city’s condition that the cost of its investment not exceed the $611 million cap that the D.C. Council approved last month. MLB, which owns the Nationals, also agreed to contribute $20 million toward the cost of the stadium,” [WaPo, MLB Officials Sign Lease for D.C. Stadium, Mar 6, 2006]