On Sunday, the eyes of the nation will fall on Atlanta's brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, site of the 53rd Superbowl. As players and spectators pour into the city, they'll be dazzled by a state-of-the-art retractable roof and an enormous, wrap-around digital screen. What will be less apparent to thousands of spectators and millions of television viewers is a different kind of innovation—a carefully concealed legal clause that will privatize future profits of the publicly-funded stadium.
How Did We Get Here?
The gnarled history of building professional sports stadiums with taxpayer funds has attracted some unwelcome attention in recent years, leading team owners and mayors to become more circumspect in how they publicize the millions they receive from cities in the name of economic development.