Prince George's County as a lucky free rider
I was amazed to read articles in yesterday's Post that didn't criticize DC for not being able to retain the DC United soccer team, which is going to decamp to Prince George's County. See the column by Marc Fisher, "A Bad Deal for Md. Taxpayers," and "Soccer Stadium 'Lacked a Champion': As Talks in D.C. Faltered, Pr. George's Officials Stepped Forward."
Interesting too that the articles were somewhat honest about the limited economic development, that even PG County doesn't believe that massive amounts of secondary economic development will develop as a result of the team.
In fact, if PG County would have had to scrape up the money for the team, they would have passed too. Instead, bonds will be sold by the Maryland Stadium Authority.
It's also interesting that the consensus of DC officials is that there was no official serving as a champion for the soccer team, despite the bloviating by Councilmember Barry about the city's failure to retain the team. Where was Councilmember Barry during this period, if he cared so much about soccer? See "Poplar Point problem 'staggering blow'" from the Washington Business Journal.
And it's also interesting that DC United chose a Maryland location for the money they were offered, rather than considering the fact that most of their fans are based in Virginia, and likely will have a more difficult time reaching the stadium.
This may also set the stage for the ability to tear down the RFK Stadium (no, I won't support a landmark nomination for it) and reuse the site and associated parking lots. NOT FOR FOOTBALL.
From an old blog entry:
Note that the impact of the Redskins in PG County would be minimal if there weren't a local tax on concessions and ticket sales. According to the Post article "Md. Weighs Stadium for D.C. United: Study Will Gauge Pr. George's Benefits", PG County nets $10 million in Redskins-related economic benefit, but 80% comes from the additional tax on concessions and tickets. Even $10 million annually might not be an adequate return on investment in terms of what was expended by the State of Maryland and the County to land this facility.