Dennis Coates, Economics, in The Baltimore Sun and The Buffalo News

As the Buffalo Bills search for a new owner, state and county officials in New York could be faced with a complicated scenario if the new owner arrives with a demand to build a new stadium. An article published July 28 in The Buffalo News examines the question: do taxpayers get their money’s worth by public dollars helping to build sports stadiums? 

Considering the situation in Buffalo, Economics Professor Dennis Coates was interviewed for the story and said teams are increasingly getting money from taxpayers to directly help with operating costs of stadiums.

One of the arguments for a new stadium in Buffalo is that if it keeps the Bills there, it’s good for the community’s sense of pride. In the article, Coates recalled growing up in Western New York when basketball’s Buffalo Braves left in 1978. “I don’t think anybody cared much. But the Bills? People would care.”

Coates lived in the Baltimore area when the Colts football team left for Indianapolis. “I saw firsthand how that made people here feel. … That sort of thing was like losing a loved one.” But, he cautioned, taxpayers should not think a new Bills’ stadium would be an economic boost for the region. In fact, studies have shown that the stadium deals cost more each year to taxpayers – when all the subsidies are factored in – than they return on any sort of dollar basis.

Coates was also interviewed by The Baltimore Sun for a July 28 article looking at the decision to change the name of the University of Maryland’s Comcast Center to the Xfinity Center. Discussing the benefit of naming rights agreements in college sports and looking at what the deal may mean for the Xfinity brand, Coates said, “that doesn’t mean they don’t get some sort of goodwill out of it,” he added, “they must be doing it because they think it generates profit.” Changing the Comcast Center’s name “is kind of an unusual case” because it doesn’t involve a new corporate player, Coates said. “Usually it’s a complete change in the company.”

To read the complete version of both articles, click below:
Teams have upper hand in stadium negotiations (The Buffalo News)
University of Maryland arena is rechristened Xfinity Center (The Baltimore Sun)

Update: Coates was also interviewed for an article about the possibility of a new stadium for the Buffalo Bills in The Deal Pipeline on August 7. That article can be found here