Union Not the Biggest Disappointment of PPL Park

When the state invested in PPL Park, home of the Philadelphia Union, in 2008, it was supposed to help revitalized Chester. Guess what happened.

Sunday’s Inquirer featured a report by Laura McCrystal on the failure of PPL Park to spark a rebirth in Chester. The home of the Philadelphia Union, which got $47 million in state funding in 2008, was supposed to be the first part of several hundred million dollars of investment along the Chester waterfront.

The stadium’s great, the view of the Commodore Barry Bridge is awesome, games are generally well-attended and the team is supposedly an OK neighbor (if sometimes disappointing on the pitch). The stadium brought jobs, but it’s only open for big events a few dozen times a year. The global financial crisis wiped out additional development.

Google “stadium subsidies” and the research on the subject is pretty clear: Stadium subsidies don’t spur additional investment. Many of the jobs created are construction projects and seasonal gameday work. We knew this at the time, too, but that didn’t stop overly rosy projections at the time.

But sports welfare shows no signs of abating.