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News Link • Government Debt & Financing

Cincinnati Is Broke Thanks To Sports Stadiums


The Duke Energy Convention Center, whose naming rights are owned by the fine folks who spilled millions of gallons of toxic coal ash containing carcinogens into the Dan River in North Carolina and only paid a $100,000 fine, is in need of major renovations. According to the Mike Laatsch, the CEO of the Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau, business is plummeting, and without these upgrades, they'll lose out on 100,000 room nights by 2022.

Naturally, he would like to see taxpayers pay for this. Somehow. Laatsch hasn't said how much should be paid or exactly what part of the public sector should be ripped off, but what he fails to mention is that the Duke Energy Convention Center was upgraded as recently as 2006 at a total cost of $135 million, with some nice hotel tax breaks thrown in, and netted $9 million for the aforementioned naming rights. But as Professor Heywood Saunders, the author of "Convention Center Follies," notes, the renovations didn't come close to achieving the desired result, not with nearby Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Columbus rolling out new venues of their own and/or paying for expansion projects to existing sites.

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