My inbox flooded with e-mails this weekend about a New York Times story detailing the woes of cities that have spent money recently for sports stadiums.

Cincinnati, which built stadiums both for football’s Bengals and baseball’s Reds, is the case study in misery. The stadiums were nearly $300 million over budget and sales tax revenues haven’t come close to estimates. And the city is losing money in leases with the teams.

“Anyone looking at this objectively knows it’s a train wreck,” said Dusty Rhodes, the (Hamilton County, Ohio) auditor. “I told them they were making a big mistake, but they didn’t want to hear me.”

The piece doesn’t end with Cincinnati. Indianapolis and Milwaukee also are cited as losers.

Our own Morning Report made the obvious observation that the story couldn’t have come at a worse time for the San Diego Chargers, who began their push for public money to build a stadium here.

A typical e-mail I received over the weekend was one that San Carlos activist John Pilch sent to San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and City Council members.

Please protect our interests and mean it when you say no public funds will be used to build a new football stadium for the Chargers. Otherwise, you can add San Diego to the list of cities suffering from the cost of a new stadium.

But reader Flo Sanders sent me an e-mail argued that the NYT story blames the stadiums for Cincinnati’s financial troubles when a property tax credit and other promises could be a problem, too.

Granted there are probably many aspects of the deal that favor the teams and not the public. But lopsided reporting doesn’t help.

We received plenty of response on the stories we’ve ran about the Chargers stadium effort so I’d like to keep the conversation going with this piece. Comments are open.


Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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