Document Type

Working Paper

Date of This Version



football, sports, stadium, tax subsidies, accounting

JEL Classification

H71, H83, L83, Z23


Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California is an example of a private financing / public ownership arrangement. While the stadium’s construction resulted in no direct tax increases, this ownership arrangement allows the San Francisco 49ers to avoid many types of taxes on the income generated from Levi’s Stadium. We estimate the total tax savings to the 49ers at between $106 and $213 million over the first 20 years of Levi’s Stadium compared with a privately financed and owned option. We argue that tax savings inherent in private financing / public ownership arrangements represent indirect and hidden subsidies.

Working Paper Number