So How Valuable Is a Stadium?

McHenry resident Steve Stanek has done considerable research on how stadiums affect communities and has come up with a doozy.

Look what he’s found:

Supporters of a professional baseball stadium at McHenry County College need to look at Seattle, where the SuperSonics of the National Basketball Association want out of their city stadium lease.

The team said the following, under oath, in a federal court filing the week of Jan. 14:

“The financial issue is simple, and the city’s analysts agree, there will be no net economic loss if the Sonics leave Seattle. . . Seattleites will not reduce their entertainment budget simply because the Sonics leave.

This is what nearly all independent researchers and sports economists have been saying about professional sports. They deliver little or no net economic benefit.

The irony is the Sonics received millions of dollars of subsidies after a public relations campaign that argued professional sports teams bring big benefits to a community. Those statements were never made under oath.

Stadium boosters in McHenry County should ask which statements to believe. Ones made in self-serving public relations campaigns? Or ones made under oath in a federal court?

And they should also ask:

If the SuperSonics can go to court to end a lease with Seattle, couldn’t a minor league baseball team do the same at McHenry County College?

And that bus that MCC Board President George Lowe was asking me Monday to make sure was there to take students from the proposed Metra railroad station near the college in Ridgefield?

There it is in the drawing released by the college.

Since we don’t need a stadium financed by us taxpayers and, as Geraldine Cowlin and numerous others, the most recent of which being Dan Malone, point out:

a minor league baseball stadium is off MCC’s educational mission,

the college can use the one pictured above. It’s right in front of the proposed baseball stadium.


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