The city of the moment that’s being asked to pony up a lot of money for a new minor league baseball stadium is Fayetteville. Per the Fayetteville Observer:

If Fayetteville can find the money to pay for it, the city most likely will make a deal to build a minor league baseball stadium downtown, Mayor Nat Robertson said Tuesday evening.

Other members of the City Council were generally positive about the idea. But two said the price tag – $43.8 million to $46.9 million – is far too high.

Robertson thinks the city can find a way to pay for the stadium in that price range.

The city has been in talks with the Houston Astros Major League team to bring a minor league team to the city to play in a new stadium to open in 2018.

The City Council is considering whether to sign a letter-of-intent to start 30 days of negotiations and is scheduled to meet today to discuss the idea further.

“It’s 80 percent ‘how do we do it,’ and 20 percent ‘whether we do it,'” Robertson said of the pending decision to pursue the stadium.


Baseball fan and Councilman Jim Arp said the project must be vetted as an investment in the community and on its prospects of paying off.

“At the end of the day, you don’t spend that kind of money for a baseball team,” Arp said. “You spend that kind of money to bring economic development into Fayetteville.”

The stadium would not be limited to a season of minor league baseball games.

Arp said high school and college baseball events could be held there. The consultant report says the stadium, with a capacity of 6,472, could also be configured as needed for football, soccer and outdoor concerts.

When the stadium is not in use for organized events, Arp said, it could be open as a public park, as he saw another city do with its baseball stadium.

Throwing public money at a privately-owned, for-profit minor-league sports team is always justified as an economic development move. If you look at the underlying economics of it, it makes little sense. Taxpayers are being asked to subsidize a form of entertainment, which will draw spending from other local forms of entertainment. And how many companies actually base relocation or expansion decisions upon the availability of Class A baseball?

As for the alternative uses of the ball field argument, that’s just laughable. If multiuse stadiums were such a great idea, we’d see them everywhere. And we don’t. Why? Because the shape of the playing area is much different in baseball as compared to football or soccer. A concert venue? Is that really a top concern in Fayetteville? Doesn’t the area already have other viable options, beginning with the Crown Complex?