This article presents a history of property taxation at the United Center, which opened in 1994 as the home arena of the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association. While boosters billed the arena as a private endeavor, owners benefited from property tax abatements that allowed them to recoup much of the facility's initial cost. This study confirms that stadium development in the neoliberal era has been characterized in large part by the evaporation of public rights to revenues generated by taxpayer-funded facilities. It also suggests that this shift stemmed not just from the monopoly powers unique to the sports business but also from policy makers' increasing embrace of unconditional corporate welfare for firms throughout the economy. In addition, the article reveals the involvement of the sports business in expanded efforts within corporate America to use philanthropy to cultivate facades of “social responsibility” that have deflected public scrutiny and government regulation.

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