Contrary to predictions and promises when it was built, Marlins Park has not proved an economic boon to surrounding businesses. Now Miami Beckham United plans an MLS stadium on public land near Marlins Park, and we wonder whether the benefits will be as scarce and the burden on the community as great as occurred with the Marlins’ stadium.
Miami Herald 8/15/15
“I don’t think we should promise economic development for the area if the soccer stadium is built,” Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado said. “I don’t think that should be the sales pitch because it’s not a reality.” When city and Miami-Dade County leaders signed off on the complicated multi-government deal in 2009 to fund, among other projects, a new Marlins Park, saddling the public with more than $2 billion in debt, one of the big selling points of the deal was economic revitalization.
“The notion of stadiums as an economic catalyst is backwards to begin with,” said Neil deMause, who co-wrote the book Field of Schemes and runs a blog by the same name about publicly financed stadiums. “I think everyone is right to be disappointed in the fact that there are all these empty stores in the parking garages [around Marlins Park], but I’m not in the slightest bit surprised because it’s what I see in city after city.”
In July, John Oliver highlighted Marlins Park along with other cities’ stadiums on Last Week Tonight, lamenting the public funding that typically subsidizes such massively profitable private ventures.