Florida’s football stadiums fail to comply with important public law

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The pursuit of public funds for football stadiums carries with it certain obligations that wouldn’t apply if football teams would simply build their own buildings.  In Florida, the powers-that-be previously passed a law requiring venues that receive public funds to discharge an important public duty:  provide shelter to the homeless when the buildings are otherwise not in use.

To date, the three NFL stadiums located in Florida, along with numerous other facilities, have failed to comply.  Now, a pair of Republican legislators hope to force the stadiums to comply — or to refund the public money previously received.

“These organizations have failed to follow the law for over 20 years,” Representative Frank Artiles (R-Miami) said in a statement, via the Tampa Bay Times.  “This is the simply the State of Florida holding them accountable.”

Per the Palm Beach Post, Senator Mike Bennett claims that none of the 17 facilities that have received public assistance have complied with the law.  This includes Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium, Jacksonville’s EverBank Field, and Miami’s SunLife Stadium.

Under a measure introduced by Bennett, counties and/or franchises that have received state money would have to prove the existence of a homeless shelter for use on non-event evenings or refund the money.

According to the Times, SunLife Stadium has received $37 million, Everbank Field has received $35.1 million, and Raymond James Stadium has received $30 million.

It’s a great move.  Florida has subsidized pro sports franchises with a clear expectation that the pro sports franchises will help the homeless.  The pro sports franchises have pocketed the money while ignoring their obligations.

Here’s hoping that Stephen Ross, the Glazers, and Shad Khan will make this right without having to be forced to do so.

35 responses to “Florida’s football stadiums fail to comply with important public law

  1. looks like a bogus law to me.

    but this is the problem with taking tax dollars. or anyone’s dollars. sometimes there are strings attached.

    and guess what? a lot of state and local gummints are strapped for cash too.

  2. Rest assured if it makes sense, or is legal, the convicted criminal governor who was inexplicable elected will prevent it.

    Unless, of course, it puts money in his own personal bank account.

  3. Sounds good to me. We pay taxes, no reason why these guys can’t help out society aswell.

  4. grantgoodman93 says:
    Jan 22, 2012 4:11 PM
    I know one thing. That’s the only way Jacksonville is gonna fill that stadium anyway.


    But really.


    Comment of the year!

  5. cmr123 says:
    Jan 22, 2012 4:13 PM
    If the expectaion was clear, why has it taken 2o years?

     Because when the teams are winning, nobody cares. But when they suck, as all 3 teams do.(I am a fins fan by the way) then its time to kick them while they’re down.

  6. Doesn’t quite seem to be as simple as they are saying. The bill in question says “Professional Sports Facilities; Requiring the county commission in a county in which a professional sports facility is located to establish a local homeless coalition if a local homeless program does not exist in that county;”. So if any stadium are in counties where homeless programs are already active, they would not have to serve as a shelter.

  7. Ah, the consequences of taking taxpayer money. Just wondering at what point a homeless shelter becomes a home thereby making them not homeless shelters. Can the not homeless then be removed? But then they’d be homeless again… What a conundrum for the owners. Maybe these wealthy owners will figure out how to get a private loan and pay off the taxpayers.

  8. Round up the kids and get packing, Honey. We’re moving to the Ray-Jay!

  9. Since this is a very obscure law, it seems that these lawmakers have an agenda. How would this be managed? Who would take care of security, clean up etc and how much would that cost taxpayers? Stadiums are hardly the ideal place to house people overnight.
    I do like the idea of teams/owners making large donations to existing homeless shelters. That would be a win-win….

  10. In Jacksonville the cities homeless shelter is less than two blocks from the stadium and houses and feeds any homeless that seek shelter as long as they agree to try to find a job with the homeless shelters assistance. This facility is never full so their is no real need to house them in Everbank. Anyway most of the homeless in Jacksonville avoid the shelters because they require them to keep clean and find a job.

  11. Sounds more than reasonable if that was the agreement. If they don’t like the idea, pay the money back.

  12. Jacksonville (the smallest FL NFL market) lead the other FL teams in average attendance for 2011.

    JAX (25th) 62,331
    MIA (28th) 60,886
    TB (30th) 56,614

    So chill with the ‘trendy’ Jags moving to LA comments. Haters are always gonna hate.

  13. Yea right, the homeless people should have access to the luxury boxes and clubs in all the stadiums. Im sure theyll take good care of everything, they are so neat and clean. They deserve a nice vaca after drinking and drugging all week. They did a nice job on the New Orleans superdome when they where holed up there.
    Another stupid liberal feel good law.

  14. If they’re not following the stipulations in their leases, kick them out. After the Jaguars move to LA, the city is going to take an advertisement in the classifieds.

    Stadium for sale. One Everbank Field Drive
    Stadium well cared for, but far from new. Comes fully equipped with scoreboards, goal posts, new unused sod. Beer carts go with for an extra $500. Stadium unfortunately has some homeless people, buyer beware. Pest control may be needed. (buyer assumes all risk). Located on the Beautiful St. John’s river on 10 lush acres of parking lots. First $500 CASH takes it.

  15. Anti trust exemption from Washington. The extort city and state governments.

    Perhaps they can provide a public service that they were PAID to provide.

  16. This isn’t something that should go unanswered by the teams. If this is an agreement they entered into by accepting public money, then the teams need set the record straight. If teams are exempt from it for some reason then it is a simple explanation.

    The Dolphins have been trying to change laws in a county the stadium is not even in so they can get public money for stadium upgrades, but they have been receiving money since 1994?

    Just clear it up as to what is going on.

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