Economists discuss deal to renovate Wrigley Field

November 12, 2010

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Wrigley Field (AP/File)

Economists are differing on the value of state government helping pay for Wrigley Field renovations.

An executive with the Chicago Cubs says the team wants $250 million in bonds from the State of Illinois. That money would be paid back over time with the amusement tax fans pay when they buy tickets.

Eldon Ham follows the business of sports at Chicago-Kent College of Law. "It's creative, it's interesting, but it is a concession that simply helps the Ricketts family," he said.

Ham said if it's done right, the deal shouldn't cost the state much money.

But University of Chicago sports economist Allen Sanderson says other state-funded projects could lose out if legislators agree to shell out $250 million. "In economic terms, there's an opportunity cost here. So it's not free," he said.

Sanderson says anti-Cubs fans should bear in mind the White Sox got some government help, too, when their stadium was built.