In 1923, the New York Yankees opened Yankee Stadium. In 1964, the New York Mets opened Shea Stadium. In 2009, both teams closed those stadiums and built costly new ones across the street, the latest examples of a disturbing national trend: record-breakingly expensive stadiums gifted to privately owned teams with the help of billions of dollars in public money. In 2012, the Nets basketball team moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn to occupy the just-built Barclays Center at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues. Everyone is building stadiums and taxpayers are left holding the bill.
Stadium Status is an investigative documentary by the Internets Celebrities – Rafi Kam, Dallas Penn and Casimir Nozkowski – three filmmakers who grew up baseball fans in New York City. Filmed on location in the South Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn, Stadium Status looks at the new Mets, Nets and Yankees stadiums and what their actual cost is to a city in the middle of a recession. Developers, teams and politicians promise to benefit the community by creating new jobs and new fans drawn to the amenities of these billion dollar sports complexes. But for the money they’re getting in tax breaks, subsidies and free rent, there is little chance that teams will actually bring a return on the city and state’s investment. Ticket prices rise, local stores lose business, and long-time tenants are bought out of homes in the way of development. With the help of journalist Neil deMause, community activist Killian Jordan and the countless fans, protestors and passer-by who spoke with us, Stadium Status breaks new ground in attempting to uncover the real motivation for team-owners to move both winning (Yankees) and losing (Mets/Nets) teams out of iconic ballparks into pricey new facilities.