But there are also lots of cities with positive downtown stadium experiences. Tampa hopes to one day join the ranks. But there will always be that pesky question of, "at what cost?"
An investigation from FOX 5 in Washington D.C. looked at the big crowds populating Nationals Park and its surrounding area, finding plenty of indications of unfulfilled economic promises:
In a report used by the city's Chief Financial Officer to obtain financing, the city had counted on the stadium to bring in $24 million a year last year from taxes on tickets, parking and concessions. In fiscal 2012, tax figures provided by the CFO's office showed the stadium only brought in $12.6 million in tax revenue despite finishing with the league's best record.There's no telling if DC will ever break even on the Nationals deal, since exact economic effects are tough to track and so much of a stadium's value isn't financial.
"Having a team, a baseball team in Washington is a great, great thing. But having a winning team is not the same as saying it's a winning financial bid for the city," said Ed Lazere, Executive Director of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute.
The group believes the numbers show the stadium isn't pulling its weight. It was critical of a taxpayer-funded stadium then and now.
The city tapped a ballpark fee and utility tax on businesses to pay the lion's share of the stadium. That tax brought in $42.6 million last year, according to the District's CFO's office.
The team owners chipped in only $5 million in rent. Critics call it corporate welfare for billionaire baseball owners that don't benefit the welfare of the city.
"There is no doubt we could clearly use those resources to pay for things that are important to the city ... our libraries and recreation centers are not open on Sundays for the most part because we don't have the money to keep them open," Lazere pointed out.
But in Tampa, politicians will repeatedly face the question, "can this money be better-spent elsewhere?"
Mayor Bob Buckhorn has made it clear $100-$150 million will soon be available to a possible stadium from tax-incremental financing (TIF) revenues that can only be spent in Downtown Tampa.
But that's not "free money" - those are tax dollars. And that money could go toward a lot of other places: upgrading buildings, renovating the Tampa Bay Times Forum, building a transit hub, or even buying/rebuilding the biggest blight on the city's waterfront, Channelside Bay Plaza.