Phantom Stadiums

As Stadiums Vanish, Their Debt Lives On


The old Giants Stadium, demolished to make way for New Meadowlands Stadium, still carries about $110 million in debt, or nearly $13 for every New Jersey resident, even though it is now a parking lot.


New Jerseyans are hardly alone in paying for stadiums that no longer exist. Residents of Seattle’s King County owe more than $80 million for the Kingdome, which was razed in 2000. The story has been similar in Indianapolis and Philadelphia. In Houston, Kansas City, Mo., Memphis and Pittsburgh, residents are paying for stadiums and arenas that were abandoned by the teams they were built for.

But befitting its name, Giants Stadium is the granddaddy of phantom facilities. Taxpayers in New Jersey, already under pressure from declining local government revenues, this year will pay $35.8 million in principal and interest on the $266 million in remaining bonds for the Meadowlands Sports Complex, which opened in 1976 and includes the Izod Center and a horse racing track. Those bonds will not be paid until 2025.

Comment: Not the case with the Metrodome.


  1. It's worth noting that this shows the duplicity of the pro-stadium crowd; you typically issue bonds for less than the proposed life of the asset, not more. Hence, what went on with the Meadowlands in 1976 is that the proposers suggested it would be in use for 50 years to reduce the perceived cost.

    Investors are making out like bandits, though. I'm calculating about 11% on municipal, tax free bonds. Taxpayers, of course, aren't getting such a good deal. (who negotiated this one? the Mob?)

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