Las Vegas ballpark pitch revives debate over public funding for sports stadiums

June 3, 2023  -CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Gov. Joe Lombardo wants to help build Major League Baseball’s smallest ballpark — arguing that the worst team in baseball can boost Las Vegas, a city striving to call itself a sports mecca.

Nationwide debate about public funding for private sports clubs has been revived with the Oakland Athletics ballpark proposal. The issue pits Nevada’s powerful tourism industry, including trade unions, against a growing chorus of mostly progressive groups that, throughout the country, are raising concerns about use of tax dollars to finance sports stadiums but could otherwise fund government services or schools.

The debate over relocating the team from California to Nevada echoes others around the country, where politicians have approved large sums of taxpayer money going to sports clubs in Buffalo, New York; Atlanta, Georgia; and Nashville, Tennessee. In Tempe, Arizona, though, voters rejected a $2.3 billion proposal that would have included a new arena for the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes.

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