New NFL Stadiums

Has there been some sort of secret alliance forged between the NFL and the various unions that represent construction workers?  At a time in America when conspiracy theories run rampant where the absence of evidence becomes probative in support of a conspiracy, perhaps we should take a look here.  NFL teams – – and their owners – – have a long history of getting localities to pay for stadiums using the threat of moving to a different locality as the leverage point.  But perhaps that threat has become threadbare?  After all, would anyone take seriously a threat by the Chicago Bears – – a team needing/wanting a new playpen – – to pick up stakes and abandon the Chicago market to begin a new life as the Albuquerque Anteaters?

So, if that time worn threat has lost some of its cachet, maybe the NFL mavens have opened up the playbook so to speak.  Maybe they have secretly allied themselves with the union workers who would build stadiums if only those recalcitrant local legislators would pass the funding measures that would put shovels in the ground for said new stadiums.  Team owners can offer the hope and glory of “development” and “civic pride” to those legislators; construction unions can offer votes.  And there is one thing that remains true for politicians at every level of government in the US:

  • Priority #1 is to get re-elected.
  • Priority #2 – #99 is anything and everything else.

Look around the NFL and take your eyes off any sort of news involving trades or free agent signings or analyses of backup QBs and focus on teams in the process of building a new stadium – – with significant public expenditures – – plus those who are still “working the phones” to get that funding approved so they too can provide work to those construction workers.

  1. Bills:  The shovels are in the ground; the foundations have been excavated; the new stadium is emerging; it is set to open at the start of the 2026 season.
  2. Bears:  The team tried to use the ploy of “build a new one or we move” even going to the point of buying up the old Arlington International Racecourse property, but that charade worked about as well as did the man behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz.  However, local pols are now considering options and ideas for a new facility in Chicago – – which was “off the table” prior to the team purchasing that property in Arlington Heights, IL.  Local and State elections are going to happen in 2025 and in 2026 meaning candidates will be focused on “vote counting”.  This one is still up in the air, but I suspect some momentum in favor of funding a new stadium will develop soon.
  3. Chiefs:  The folks in KC, Missouri voted down a funding referendum for a new stadium but the folks in neighboring Kansas came up with some dough.  Now it is Missouri’s turn to respond.  It may be a while until the shovels go into the dirt there and the construction workers’ paychecks get cashed, but something is going to get done there.
  4. Commanders:  When Danny Boy Snyder owned the team, neither DC, Maryland nor Virginia wanted to do business with him even though the Commanders’ stadium is THE worst facility in the league.  Now with new owners who are not seen as toxic humanoids, all three regional entities are trying to convince the team to move to a new stadium in their part of the world.  [Hint:  Moving back into DC has the inside track here.]
  5. Jags:  The team did not seek a new stadium from the ground up, but they did want renovations and updates to the current facility.  [Aside:  Recall that Jax was a stadium where they had to hide empty seats in the upper deck to make it look as if the team was actually interesting to local fans about 10 years ago.  Maybe one of the “renovations” will be to remove those cover-ups and replace them with animatronic suit-dummies?]  About 2 weeks ago, the city of Jacksonville agreed to cough up $775M to fund 55% of the cost of the planned renovations.  The completion date is set for the opening of the 2028 NFL season.
  6. Titans:  They broke ground in March for a new stadium estimated to cost $2.1B and the anticipated opening of the facility is at the start of the 2027 NFL season.

There you have 6 NFL teams – – not quite 20% of the league – – where new facilities are under construction or are just about to go under construction or are deep into the process of finding taxpayer money to pay for the construction.  And it is not as if this is something out of the ordinary:

  • Raiders:  Just got themselves a new stadium in Las Vegas and even hosted a Super Bowl.
  • Rams/Chargers:  They share a new stadium that came with a price-tag of $5.1B.

Add this up and you have just over 25% of the NFL teams dipping into taxpayer money for new or renovated facilities now and in the very recent past.  When you read articles about the anticipated benefits and return on investment for localities when they opt to spend this money, also keep in mind that the people doing the work and getting paid to do the work on those new facilities are voters who just might look upon the politicians that provided the funding for their employment in a “benign fashion”.

Finally, as you are about to shrug your shoulders and think of me as a cynic, let me close with these words from George Bernard Shaw:

“The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

 

 

4 thoughts on “New NFL Stadiums”

  1. Concerning stadiums, this Raider fan is a bit miffed–and sad–that the Oakland Coliseum is no longer “THE worst facility in the league.”

  2. I also note all but one of the current teams, are in two categories – the Only Game in Town of the big three sports, or right at the intersection of multiple states. The Bills, Jacksonville, the Titans don’t HAVE MLB, or NBA teams. They are a Major League City because they have the NFL. They lose that, the pols think their city loses luster.

    Or the Commodes – DC bids against NoVa against Maryland. Competing localities in the same market – or Kansas v. Missouri. That doesn’t happen too much. The NYC teams are in Jersey, but TV is always using backdrops of Manhattan, not Weehawken. Did you think they would show Tony Soprano’s house? (actually I went to the first MNF football game at MetLife, and Jim Gandolfini was in attendance, and shown on the scoreboard a lot. Apparently was a legit fan.)

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