Publisher's note: The author of this post is Julie Tisdale, who is City and County Policy Analyst for the John Locke Foundation.
This morning, Triad Business Journal ran a piece with the title, "N.C. governor 'open to options' to keep NFL in Charlotte."
Of course, we all know what that means: state money, tax breaks, incentive payments, corporate welfare.
The evidence on this is pretty clear, which is one reason I find all of this so frustrating. As I wrote in a report for the John Locke Foundation
last year multiple researchers have reached the same conclusion.
- The presence of a professional sports team does indeed impact the economy, but, contrary to popular belief, the impact is usually negative. Remarkably, when looking across all sports over the past 50 years, it appears that cities with professional teams saw their per-capita gross domestic product drop. In other words, people became poorer.
We know that spending a lot of taxpayer money on a stadium (which is what most people think those "options" Cooper is "open to" would be) doesn't really help the local economy. And whether it ends up being money for a stadium, or tax breaks, or some other sort of financial assistance, it seems a bit unsavory to take money from taxpayers to prop up a business which Forbes values at $2.3 billion with very wealthy owners.
How about we just let the Panthers do what they do? Someone will buy the team when it goes up for sale in the coming days. If that owner wants to stay in Charlotte, fine. If the owner wants to move the team, fine. But let that new owner or owner group make a decision independent of bribes from state or local government using taxpayer money. And let's refuse to be held hostage by any owner who thinks we can be manipulated by threats of moving the team.