You make a most valid point: Secondly I'm not a fan of taxpayer funded enterprises to support professional sports. If those enterprises were a good deal the sports teams would do them privately and cut the taxpayers out. There is a reason why they don't do that.
Indeed. Professional sports, in and of itself, is generally a big money loser. The only reason the NFL is so profitable and successful is because television subsidizes it to the tune of $5 billion a year. They go along with it because they are deathly afraid of losing more eyeballs. Without that TV money, the entire NFL business model collapses.
Case in point: the UFL, the venture in which Pelosi was involved. They paid a fraction of what the NFL does, drew respectably in at least some of the markets, yet even the most popular teams still lost millions of dollars every year. They had no TV revenue. Ticket and merchandising revenue alone is not nearly enough to cover most of the expenses of a pro football team.
So, when it comes to a ten-figure investment into something like a new stadium, most teams don't have the liquid assets to sink into that. Yet the league is dangling carrots in many of these cases by awarding the Super Bowls to the newest, shiniest stadiums. If the city/county refuses... well... Los Angeles is still waiting.
The NFL has become a master of extorting money from people, municipalities and companies using fear.