Proposed Baseball Stadium, Strikes Out

Published June 29, 2007

The Northwest Herald makes the proposed minor league baseball stadium at McHenry County College sound like the biggest thing to hit this area since the Motorola plant in Harvard.

And that’s the problem. Motorola was a dismal failure and this baseball stadium may be, too. Here’s what our nation’s Federal Reserve says about the use of public money for sports teams:

“The use of public funds to lure or keep teams begs several questions, the foremost of which is, ‘Are these good investments for cities?’ “The short answer to this question is ‘No.’ When studying this issue, almost all economists and development specialists (at least those who work independently and not for a chamber of commerce or similar organization) [parentheses are part of report] conclude that the rate of return a city or metropolitan area receives for its investment is generally below that of alternative projects.”

Again — “almost all economists and development specialists” who are independent and objective doubt the benefits of public funding.

We can buy the hype or heed the warning. Many people bought the Motorola hype in the mid-1990s. Don’t buy the hype for the college’s publicly funded baseball stadium.

Editor: You may verify the Federal Reserve report I quote by going to and clicking on the pdf link.

Steve Stanek ([email protected])is a research fellow for The Heartland Institute.