The next time someone tells you that the taxpayer residents of a city or urban area need to help some billionaire businessman finance the construction of a sports arena where he’ll sell you $5 hot dogs and $9 beers, remember the Pontiac Silverdome’s epic fail.
Vacant about 99% of the time since 2002, the ‘Dome has been maintained of late by the City of Pontiac, at an annual cost (to taxpayers) of about $1.5M.
As recently as 2005, the City refused a $20M purchase offer. This week, the City of Pontiac (MI) accepted a bid to purchase the Silverdome, nestled among 127 sprawling acres of crumbling concrete and lightpots, on the outskirts of 20.2 square miles of blight known as the “City of Pontiac”, for $583,000.
Five-hundred eighty-three thousand dollars. That’s about $8 per seat; the cost of a single domestic draft beer at most Stadiums today.
Home to the Detroit Lions of the NFL for 25 years before they built the sweet new Ford Field stadium in Downtown Detroit, the Silverdome cost $55.7 million to build, adjusted for inflation that’s something like $250-600 million, depending on how you calculate it.
Ford Field , which cost over $400M to build, like the Silverdome and most modern arenas, was financed largely by public (i.e., taxpayer) funds which were justified by spurious claims of “urban renewal”, “development”, “jobs”, “tax base” and other economic bullshit.