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White Sox subsidies critic questions economic impact of possible deal

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(The Center Square) – An economic opportunity advocate is warning against the use of taxpayer funds for a proposed new White Sox stadium in Chicago.

Center for Economic Accountability President John Mozena says the White Sox don’t need a new ballpark, and taxpayers shouldn’t pay for it.

“If there’s a city that should know that you don’t need to have a new stadium to be competitive as a baseball team, it’s the city where Wrigley Field is and where they’ve finally hung another World Series banner,” Mozena said. “There are very few things that economists agree on more than the idea that sports stadiums are a terrible investment for taxpayers.”

According to Mozena, time and again across the country, stadium projects do not develop as promised or as pictured when first proposed.

“They’re not creating any new economic activity,” he said. “All they’re doing is changing where people’s entertainment dollars are getting spent.”

Mozena’s warning comes after White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf traveled to Springfield to discuss the stadium project with Illinois lawmakers and seek up to $1 billion in taxpayers funding to help pay for it. The Chicago Bears have also been exploring new stadium possibilities with taxpayers’ help. Mozena says the numbers are even worse for a potential replacement for Soldier Field.

The White Sox have played at their current facility in the Bridgeport neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side since 1991. Reinsdorf’s meeting with members of the General Assembly came just two weeks after the landowner, Related Midwest, released renderings of a proposed ballpark in Chicago’s South Loop.

According to the Center for Economic Accountability, time again, stadium developments don’t turn out the way they’re promised.

“These promises get made. You see those wonderful stadium renderings. Somehow the stadiums never end up looking as cool as they do in the renderings, and sometimes the development never ended up looking anywhere near what it promised to be by the folks who are looking for taxpayer dollars,” said Mozena.

According to Mozena, the development sometimes never turns out at all.

“Look over at Detroit, where the hockey arena was funded with promises of all this development and was called the District Detroit. Back in 2017 it opened, and they’re still waiting on the development there,” Mozena said.