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The vast majority of North America’s professional sport arenas, ballparks, and stadiums are publicly subsidized without direct approval from voters. In this article, we examine the discursive constitution of ‘no-vote subsidies’ within the public sphere, and in particular problematize the twinned production(s) of citizenship and democratic process in framing public subsidization of these sites of private accumulation. To do this, we examine the recent no-vote subsidy occurring in Columbus, Ohio—thereby providing context-specific interrogation of the mediations of participatory citizenship, political decision-making, and the institution of democracy as related to sport stadium funding. As part of this analysis, we discuss the public production of civic paternalism—a political ideology focused on urban growth and unconcerned with future electoral consequences—in the Columbus arena financing case. We conclude the article with a call for increasing scholarly engagement in, and intervention into, the political processes that result in the public subsidization of professional sport venues.


Author accepted manuscript version of an article published in

Kellison, T. B., Newman, J. I., & Bunds, K. S. (2017). Framing democracy: Stadium financing and civic paternalism in Test Market, USA. Sport in Society, 20(11), 1548–1564.


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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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