Jay Evensen: As I was saying, publicly funded stadiums are money losers

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  • JapanCougar Layton, UT
    Dec. 11, 2017 1:47 p.m.

    Re: No Names Accepted

    That comment is spot on!

    When people talk of economic development, in general it's simply a reallocation or shifting of resources. Unless we are getting those resources from out-of-state, or from out-of-country investors, then the taxes collected are from us. Sure, Sandy wants money spent in their city from non-residents, but if the tax burden falls on the state or county, there's really no economic development going on, just shifting of resources. The entertainment/food dollars now spent in Sandy are not being spent on some other form or place of entertainment.

    I don't think Utah should spend any more tax money on sports. None of our professional teams, aside from the Jazz, bring in a significant amount of out-of-state money (to include TV money). We have better uses for our tax money.

  • kolob1 Sandy, UT
    Dec. 8, 2017 9:30 a.m.

    TWO BITS COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS asked if I had an agenda. I did. In 2012 Sandy City stole a piece of land from my client Garage 94. They wanted to build a walkway from 9400 South to the main gate of RSL. In 2007 Sandy City forged the RSL Stadium subdivision plat indicating a right of way that did not exist. In 2012 they had the previous owners of Gargare 94 sign a quit claim deed (2012) alleging that they still owned the forged right of way.
    When I complained to Sandy City they said "We have a title where's yours ?" As a result I was committed to get at the truth and Garage 94 prevailed in a quiet title lawsuit againt Sandy City. This lasted about 9 years to the present. I researched Garage 94's tax value and noticed that the land was assessed twice as much as the Stadium land. I discovered the massive devaluation of both the land and the improvements.
    I did not have an agenda agaist RSL. RSL is an asset to Sandy and Utah. Del Roy Hansen is a visionary and an energetic owner. He may be MSL Commissioner one day.
    But Sandy City cost my client $250,000. in legal fees and lost business. So I did have an agenda against Sandy City and rightfully so. I am proud of it.

  • What in Tucket Provo, UT
    Dec. 8, 2017 9:24 a.m.

    I guess I have missed something here. I thought the economy was going great guns, border security enhanced, maybe tax cuts coming. What would Mitt or Hillary have done creatures of the swamp. Market economy principles would say keep the gubment our of buying venues for sports teams.

  • Dutchman Murray, UT
    Dec. 8, 2017 9:17 a.m.

    Actually, Mayor Corridini proposed and wanted the baseball stadium built at Pioneer Park and a new park built at the old Derk’s Field site where residential neighborhoods exist. A new baseball stadium at Pioneer Park would take advantage of the exiting restaurants, hotels and parking in the area not to mention the close proximity and synergy of the Jazz arena. It was always a pipe dream to think those amenities would be built at the old Derk’s Field site. Corridini’s plan was a good one. 22 years later the City, County and State are still confronting problems at Pioneer Park which a new baseball stadium there could have alleviated. It was County Commissioner Randy Horiuchi who lead the charge against the plan and refused to put County money into it. So 22 years later we still have Pioneer Park and all its problems and a baseball stadium without nearby restaurants and parking.

  • QDiesel SLC, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 8:27 p.m.

    With the value of sports franchises going sky high and absurd TV contracts paying the owners of these teams even more money while driving up the costs of everybody's cable bills, it is sad to see some of these big cities already saddled with money problems forking over loads of cash and begging on their hands and knees to keep their sports teams in their cities when their owners could clearly afford to pay for most of if not all a new stadium in their city. The ticket, parking and concession prices attached to new stadiums are also ridiculously high to help pay for the cost of the new stadium and takes a lot of enjoyment out of going to a ballgame anymore as well.

  • kolob1 Sandy, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 7:29 p.m.

    Nead I believe the financials were doctored. It was the Checkett's RSL $24/32 Million Dollar carryover debt that they brought to the table . This was improper and as your comment says, no one is accusing RSL. What we need is an independent audit . As to the RSL sharing their financials openly that is absolutely not true. I have a copy of the letter that accompanied their financials. It was a one pagelong warning against the sharing any of the records with anybody. The financials were prepared only by RSL. The assessor's office had nothing to do with the financials. No SLC CPA reviewed the documents as to their accuracy or validity in this devaluation.
    My position is how can they use the pre RSL Stadium losses to burden the taxpayers who have just given them $50 Million dollars of free money? We must have an independent audit.
    Hansen is a much better avocate for soccer than Checketts. But he knows how to get what he wants. A little money in the right place, heh? ($10,000, to Tom Dolan, heh?)

    Hansen was an orignal minor partner. He bought Checketts out . Besides his lawyers knew what the contract called for.

    It's simple, they reneged. It's simple , we need an audit!!

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Dec. 7, 2017 5:09 p.m.

    "If I want to start a hamburger stand in Sandy City, will they give me tax incentives? then why does a athletic team get one??"

    Thats because Hamburger stands are a dime a dozen. Talk to the city about bringing something unique... and they will be all over you.

    Dec. 7, 2017 4:54 p.m.

    Finally, a note: the initial valuation of Rio Tinto Stadium was for twice the value of Energy Solutions. That does not strike me as a reasonable valuation. Given Evensen's soccer-phobic statement that "the argument can be made that the [Jazz], a high-profile major league franchise, provides returns that can’t be measured in dollars," he couldn't possibly believe Rio Tinto to be worth twice ESA, could he?

    Dec. 7, 2017 4:52 p.m.

    Those who claim that RSL did something wrong have not come close to proving it. The devaluation followed a NPV cash flow assessment after Hansen (the team owner) openly shared financials with the county assessor (per previous reporting). If the devaluation is unfair, the burden of proof is on people like Mssrs Scoville and Evensen to prove that the assessor fraudulently completed the NPV analysis or that the team provided falsified financials for that analysis. Otherwise, everything that occurred happened legally.

    The only point of contention, then, was the team's broken promise to not seek revaluation early. The team did so, which I agree was underhanded, but it was done by the owner who was not party to the original agreement with Sandy city. Given that Sandy and the team have now reached a mutually agreed upon settlement, I disagree that it can be argued that the team is taking taxpayers for a ride.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 4:46 p.m.

    @2 bits: "they attract people who want to spend money and they attract businesses to the area to serve these people."

    In 1979 when the Jazz moved to Utah from New Orleans, that may have been true.

    But today we are saturated with commercial entertainment options. Latest data shows average household savings rate at less than 4%. We are beyond saturated, we are over-spending and not saving for retirement, for emergencies, or for education

    So sports teams do not increase economic activity. They merely shift it and concentrate it to areas around the stadium.

    One might be able to make the case that a small decrease in economic activity from increased savings/investments might be far better in the long run both for individuals and the economy. Food service and hotel jobs don't pay nearly as well as the kind of jobs that come from investment capital to invent the next great battery technology, medical device, or other high tech industry.

    The benefits around Rio Tinto stadium (or the Jazz or baseball facilities) need to be weighed against the taxpayer costs. What if equal taxpayer money had been available to build an engineering or medical research facility?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 3:34 p.m.

    Does anybody wonder if the sluth referenced in the letter had an agenda, or a bias?

    It's right there in the letter... the letter is based on a commercial real estate agent Joe Scovel, who represents clients at odds with the team and with Sandy.

    Is it any surprise he has an agenda and a specific angle? Hint... he represents people who are at odds with Sandy, and the team.

    I've been around numbers long enough to know that if you report mainly the ones that support your case... you can make the numbers say anything you want them to say.

    I still think the neighborhood is better off with the stadium than without it. And the State and the City collect more in taxes because of the Statdium (not directly from the Stadium itself, but from the commerce and growth it stimulates in the area).

    But I could be wrong. The stadium may be bleeding Sandy City dry. But when I see those crowds of people walking to the stadium on game days... I have to believe it's a good thing for the community.

  • kolob1 Sandy, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 2:27 p.m.

    Now about the side deal.
    REAL Stadium's value was reduced from $85 Million (improvements) and 19 Million (land) to $44 Million and $12.5 Million in April 2012 retro to 2011. In 2013 Sandy City negotiated a Forbearance Agreement with REAL for a $75 K monthly penalty fee (Per Master Development Agreement, Aug 7,2007) to cover 1,000 parking spaces that REAL failed to provide to the taxpayers. However,due to the devaluation Sandy was now facing a Tax revenue shortfall and they had to borrow $255,000. from another Sandy RDA to make the 2012 Bond payment. Ironically Sandy City began to show this $75K payment in their official City documents (RDA Budget and City budget ) as a payment in lieu of the lost tax revenue.
    The Forbearance Agreement did not document one word about the tax revenue issue and not one word about needing to apply the $75 K to cover for the tax revenue loss. The Forbearance Agreement as a legal document speaks for itself. Sandy RDA Director admitted in an email the agreement didn't cover the revenue loss issue but on advice of the Bond attorney it actually did cover the lost revenue. Go figure. It was actually a cover. One could possibly add "up" !

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Dec. 7, 2017 2:26 p.m.

    Hey Utah, you got off cheap. Learn from this lesson, if you will.

    From my readings about the billionaire boy's club network of sports franchises, I deduce that their real modus operandi is to misrepresent the benefits to the city/state giving them money to build or remodel a given sports facility. Rarely do communities even break even, much less reap a financial bonanza.

    Now, if the owners of these teams weren't already obscenely wealthy and definitely not in need of cash, then I might make sense of some concessions. However, teams are worth hundreds of millions, played in stadia that the public has unknowingly subsidized and with spectators paying hundreds and thousands for season tickets.

    It is a great con if you can pull it off.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 1:53 p.m.


    Detroit fell primarily because it was a one trick pony. It was like a gold rush town.

  • 65TossPowerTrap Salmon, ID
    Dec. 7, 2017 1:43 p.m.

    "There, however, the argument can be made that the team, a high-profile major league franchise, provides returns that can’t be measured in dollars."

    In other words, the author likes having an NBA team nearby, so it's worth it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 1:24 p.m.

    I'm philosophically against using any public money to help private companies. But when I get off my political dogma and be practical... they do help the community.

    They bring jobs, they pay taxes, they attract people who want to spend money and they attract businesses to the area to serve these people. People who actually spend money while they are in town, and they spend that money at businesses that also pay taxes. So I have to moderate a little. Still don't think it's right for my taxes to be used to help businesses. But I'm not as radical as some here who hate any business and just wish they would all fail. Heck... where do I get my job, and support my family if these radical Democrats got their fondest wish?

    I still think businesses need to be able to make it on their own. But they do bring a lot of good to the area (like jobs, services we need, products we want, etc).

    Think about how your neighborhood would be without jobs, businesses, developers (to build those homes, businesses, roads, parks, etc). It would be like Detroit. Burned out neighborhoods, houses selling for less than $1000, no jobs, no families, just urban blight and crime...

    We want that?

  • kolob1 Sandy, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 12:37 p.m.

    The reason I reviewed REAL's tax issue was I was working on a tax protest issue on behalf of another commercial property owner in the area. I was not trying to make an argument that the Stadium owners were not entitled to a devaluation. What caught my attention was:
    a) the amount ,
    B) the basis for the devaluation and
    C) Sandy City's acquiescence.
    The assessor's office stated the amount was unusual but they used a profit and loss basis. I challenge their basis. Why?
    What financial records were used to establish this loss. The property as a franchise is valued in the $200 Million dollar range today. How much of REAL's previous debt (2000/07--$24/32 Million) was used in the Assessor's determination?
    Second: Why did Sandy City quit the protest ? Nick Duerksen, Sandy RDA Director wrote a dynamic Letter of Protest in October 2011 only to withdraw several months later. WHY ? According to my research REAL never offered any financial documents to Sandy City to review.
    PS: REAL had signed a contract with Sandy City not to devalue the property until the Bond money was repaid. They only made proper payments from 2008 to 2010.
    The taxpayers were hosed. We need an audit!

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 11:54 a.m.

    RE: "publicly funded stadiums are money losers"...
    Yah, you're right Jay. The area around Rio Tinto stadium is really suffering. And not growing. And tax revenue (sales tax, hotel taxes, etc).. hasn't been helped at all by having the stadium.

    Investigate it. But at least investigate it without an agenda, a bias, and a pre-conceived conclusion in mind. Include the increased restaurant visits, sales, rentals, and hotel tax revenue it brings in.

    Lots of new business have sprung up around Rio Tinto stadium, and are doing very well. I'm pretty sure all those businesses pay taxes. Include that.

    I'm pretty sure the Vivint arena downtown, and the opera house, and the concert hall, and all of that helps the downtown are as well. Ever wondered what the Rio Grand district would be like without Vivint Arena in the area, and the businesses and malls it attracted to the area? It would be a total slum full of urban blight and crime. You want that?

    I think they HELP the areas they are in. And they don't loose money (if you include all the business and visits they stimulate in the area).

    Gateway and other business in that area would be closed today without the arena.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 11:28 a.m.


    I have a lot of problems with Donald Trump. But he and they are grossly off topic in comments about a soccer stadium in Sandy Utah.

    Which makes me believe your comment violates the spirit of the forum rules about thoughtful comments. You appear to be looking for disagreement far more than seeking to advance the conversation about taxpayer funding of sports stadiums or other private endeavors.

    I voted for someone other than Trump in the Utah GOP primary as did the vast majority if Utah Republicans. Trump came in 3rd on what was officially a 2 way race here in Utah.

    Who did you and your State support in the Democrat primary? The honest, crazy socialist? The dishonest, corrupt socialist? Or one of the decent, sane Democrat candidates?

    Did you support Romney in 2012? Virginia did not. Romney winning would have spared us Trump, Hillary, and Obama's 2nd term.

    Next time, the Democrats and east coast Republicans alike should give me better choices in the general election.

    Utah seems to be part of the solution of supporting sensible candidates when we have the chance, while Virginia appears to be part of the on-going problem of actively supporting crazies.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 10:48 a.m.

    I agree. Especially in light of the fact we seem to blow them up less than 30 years after they're built. If the whiny team ownership threatens to move to wherever, let 'em go. Wherever isn't infinite.

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 10:44 a.m.

    This actually shouldn't be a partisan issue.

    I think I'm (being so far right I make Limbaugh look liberal) at least as opposed to these sorts of "deals" as any demo is to corporate welfare.

    They ARE a waste of taxpayer dollars, and they are VERY discriminatory in that "some" types of businesses get them (tax incentives) while others have to pound the pavement to come up with funding for their startups.

    If I want to start a hamburger stand in Sandy City, will they give me tax incentives? then why does a athletic team get one??

    ALL of these "deals" - whether they call them "tax incentives", "corporate welfare", are simply wrong and should be eliminated by statute!

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 10:38 a.m.

    The prestige and prosperity for a community that is claimed by sports teams who demand public financing is difficult to quantify. As mentioned, insider political decisions probably turn out to be the most important factor. It is interesting that we promote government grants to the arts, but not sports. While I prefer Mozart to soccer, that is not everyone's choice.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 9:59 a.m.

    Then there is the Hale Theater, where the city was the bank.

    We ought to explore deals like that as well.

    Our elected officials want something, ostensibly because it enhances the image of the city and brings in outside money in the form of restaurants and hotel rooms. That's a hard thing to measure, and that's exactly how the politicians like it.

    Whenever I've gone to the bank for money, they've wanted to see a business plan that gives them hope my company will perform. And, they want to see that I can pay for the loan even if it doesn't.

    As previously noted, our elected officials aren't quite as careful, because it isn't their money.

    Our only defense is the ballot box.

  • LOU Montana Pueblo, CO
    Dec. 7, 2017 9:52 a.m.

    When Obama mentioned this conservatives told him to stay out of it and explained in great detail how it was money well spent.

    What has suddenly changed?

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Dec. 7, 2017 9:49 a.m.

    Hey NoNamesAccepted -

    Re: "As a conservative, free market, capitalist Republican . . . '

    Are you really?

    Then you must have nothing but disdain for Donald Trump and his unworkable protectionist policies.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 9:30 a.m.

    As a conservative, free market, capitalist Republican, I am very much opposed to crony capitalism where profits are privatized while costs/risks are socialized.

    Public funding for private sports stadiums has the same problems as many other aspects of political life: unreasonable, unsupported assumptions that only consider one side of the cost/benefit equation.

    Consider on the parking situation at Real stadium. "Laughable" is too kind a word. But Sandy City officials made all kinds of unrealistic assumptions about how many people were going to carpool and how many were going to arrive via Trax. As a result, grossly inadequate parking was provided.

    Similar, unrealistic assumptions are permitted every time an apartment complex or other high density housing project is proposed. Additionally, ridiculously small storage units in which only the smallest of vehicles will actually fit are allowed to be counted as "garages". And so, simple matters like parking spill out into surrounding neighborhoods. But at least the developers squeeze in a few more units and get a little higher profit.

    Government officials must be realistic about underlying assumptions in all deals.

  • Thomas Jefferson Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Dec. 7, 2017 9:22 a.m.

    This article is forgetting something very important. When legislators give these already wealthy sports team owners huge tax breaks it costs them nothing. Its our money they are spending...but those legislators get new 'donations' for their reelection.

    Our campaign finance system is legalized bribery and nothing is going to be done about it because we the people are busy fighting about stupid crap.