Pro Stadiums Tapping Taxpayers for Renovations

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Renovation of an existing stadium is the frugal alternative to building one from scratch, but it does come at a price — and, as MarketWatch reports, taxpayers often help pick up the tab.

Within the past eight years, 17 professional sports stadiums have undergone renovation, and 15 of those projects used public money.

For example, Tampa taxpayers are footing 25 percent of the $100 million used to update Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the public paid $193 million to build the stadium in 1998. Moreover, the $100 million in improvements are roughly 10 percent of what it cost to build the Minnesota Vikings' U.S. Bank Stadium, which opened last year.

One exception to the facelift-through-public-financing rule is the Miami Dolphins' Hard Rock Stadium, a 30-year-old facility recently infused with $500 million of team owner Stephen Ross's own money. To put that figure into perspective, $500 million exceeds the cost of nearly every stadium built before 2008 but is half the average cost of every stadium built since 2009.

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