New York: Big City, Bright (New) Lights

Andrew BailerContributor IApril 5, 2009

NEW YORK - APRIL 04:  A general view from field level prior to the game between the New York Yankees and the Chicago Cubs during their game on April 4, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Both the New York Yankees and Mets will be playing in brand new stadiums this season, thanks to the help of several key players, including the City of New York, the owners of both teams (Steinbrenners and Wilpons), and you, the taxpayers.

The total cost of these state-of-the-art facilities is estimated to be at around $1.5 billion for the new Yankee Stadium and around $800 million for the new Citi Field, where the Mets will call home.

Each stadium is uniquely beautiful and built based on incredibly rich tradition and history.  For the Yankees, the whole idea was to replicate the old Yankee Stadium with the exact same dimensions, monuments, and bleachers.  Over in Queens, the designers and architects wanted to commerate National League baseball in New York City by honoring the likes of Jackie Robinson, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants.

Of course, no one is doubting the rich and storied history of baseball in New York, but what many people might be realizing is just how expensive new ballparks are these days, especially in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

About 30-35 percent of the cost of these stadiums is being financed by the government, which is above average in comparison to other ballparks that have been built in the last decade (Nationals Park in Washington D.C., Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Comerica Park in Detroit, PNC Park in Pittsburgh).

Unlike Yankee Stadium, which does not have a corporate sponsor in its name, Citi Field has come under controversy with its name due to the high-priced naming rights deal with Citigroup, which recently received federal bailout money. 

“With that in mind, House members Dennis Kucinich, D-OH, and Ted Poe, R-TX, this week urged Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to intervene,” according to a CNN Money report in January 2009.

Geithner, a native New Yorker himself, said he would not intervene with Citigroup’s $400 million deal, which gives Citi exclusive naming rights for 20 years at $20 million per year.

Regardless of the issues with Citigroup and the stadium naming rights, the timing of these brand new bohemoths in the Big Apple is going to be questioned by Main Street U.S.A., when most people in America are struggling to get by.