Experts Give Their Take on Why the Quicken Loans Project Fell Through

Aug 30, 2017

Andrew Zimbalist of Smith College says, in the past few years, the public has an increased sensitivity to publicly-funded projects like this.
Credit Cleveland Cavaliers

With the collapse of the Quicken Loans Arena deal, Cleveland joined St. Louis and San Diego on the list of cities where public sports projects have fallen through. Two experts talk about the state of stadium financing.

Smith College Professor Andrew Zimbalist says it’s long been the case that the public rejects some stadium deals. But he says there’s increased sensitivity to public financing in recent years.

“There have been more and more deals that have been privately financed. However, the privately financed deals tend to have hidden public subsidies,” he said.

Stanford University professor Roger Noll says cities don’t usually see so much community pushback on proposals that cost less than building a new stadium. And he questions the Cavs’ stated reason for canceling the deal—an increase in construction costs next year.

“It seems to me they’re unlikely to say, ‘Oh, OK, forget about it, we’re going to play in this old facility for 20 more years.’ I doubt that that’s going to happen,” Noll said.

Noll thinks the team may have more to say in the near future.