ith New York City facing the prospect of building new baseball parks to replace Yankee and Shea stadiums, the Independent Budget Office published a report in April 1998 that demonstrated both that new stadiums would generate about $20 million in city revenues and that the principal financial beneficiaries of new ballparks would be the baseball teams themselves. A second report, released in September, showed that the fans who attend major league games are mostly residents of the suburbs rather than the five boroughs.
The first study, Double Play: The Economics and Financing of Stadiums for the Yankees and the Mets, reported:
"New York's major league franchises play in the largest income and media market in the country," said IBO's Stephen Mark, one of the authors of the report. "Their revenues far exceed league averages. Ideally, any plans to build new stadiums would take these realities into account and minimize the level of public investment needed to get any new stadiums built."
The second study, Home Base for Mets and Yankees Fans, reported IBO's finding from a survey of nearly 4,000 fans at weekday, weeknight, and weekend games at Yankee and Shea stadiums in August 1998 that asked fans for their ZIP codes. The study found that:
"Major league ballparks were once built with private funds," IBO Director Douglas Criscitello said. "If public funds must be used, the establishment of a regional taxing district would more accurately reflect the fan base attending games at the stadiums. Colorado and Wisconsin have used similar approaches for Coors Field in Denver and the under-construction Miller Park in Milwaukee. New York already has a model in the form of a regional tax district for the 12 counties served by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. If area governments worked together to retain the teams, the public interest would be served by substantially improving the people's bargaining power."