The Public Interest

Sports stadium boondoggle

Mark F. Bernstein

Summer 1998

THE Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association think that their home stadium is obsolete. Their claim is rather presumptuous, given that the $53 million Miami Arena was built to the Heat’s specifications and is only eight years old. No matter: Build us a new arena, the Heat threatened, or we will move. Fearful of losing their team, Miami politicians capitulated and promised to build a new $165 million arena at taxpayers’ expense. Only a public protest forced them to withdraw their offer, so the Heat will now finance the stadium themselves. However, usually the public is only too willing to pay.

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