The sports stadium scam

One of the things I hate about professional sports in the US is the way that wealthy team owners extort public money for fancy stadiums that not only do not benefit the public but actually siphon money away from much needed and better services that many more people would benefit from. It is one more of the many ways that money is diverted from the poor to the rich.

On the latest Last Week Tonight John Oliver makes an excellent case for why cities should emphatically say NO to this kind of shakedown.


  1. says

    Yeah, living in Baltimore through the 80s I got to watch the sports conglomerates shake down the taxpayers over and over and over. As if paying for the fucking police department wasn’t bad enough.

  2. kyoseki says

    Is this where I point out that HBO recently relocated production of Veep from Maryland to California when CA offered them more subsidy money? Film & TV subsidies are an even bigger waste of money than stadiums, because there’s literally zero infrastructure required -- at least if you pay for a stadium, you still have the stadium. The *minute* you stop paying Hollywood to be there (or even just threaten to, as Louisiana is finding out), they load up their white trucks and leave.

    We’re probably unlikely to see an expose on film subsidies on Last Week Tonight, however, since HBO are a major beneficiary of them (Game of Thrones is heavily subsidized by the European countries it shoots in and BC taxpayers who cover a lot of the visual effects work and since it’s filmed in New York, Last Week Tonight is likely heavily subsidized by their film incentives which come to $420m a year).

  3. mnb0 says

    Totally off topic, but I do think you’re interested in these numbers, plus news about the Trojka.

    2010: Greek national debt was 120% of Gross Domestic Product.
    2015: Greek national debt is 180% of GDP.
    Prognosis: Greece will start repaying interest plus repayment in 2053. The last Euro will be paid back several decades later.

    European policy for Greece (thanks, social democrat Dijsselbloem): more of the same as last five years.

    IMF quits the project. Yup -- IMF is more humane than Dutch social democrat Dijsselbloem.

    This is worse than the Treaty of Versailles was for Germany.

  4. Knight in Sour Armor says

    Ditto for university sports teams (though the cost to the uni is different than to a city).

  5. Holms says

    So essentially: “please give us free our home grounds for free,” followed by “wtf hands off, I earned this money!” The fact that several of those owners could singlehandedly bankroll multiple stadia with no loss of quality of life rubs it in.

  6. lorn says

    The Greece debt isn’t insurmountable. Easy enough to handle … we just have to get every citizen to sell a kidney… and maybe a lung.

    Sports stadiums are a scam. A classic privatize profits while socializing liabilities play. With the added leverage of offering a wholly intangible benefit of having named major league team associated with the city.

    Tell you what, we can move all the teams to LA and set up state-of-the-art telepresence scanners in on those LA field so that near real-time, and quite life-like holograms can play the games virtually anywhere in the country. We could arrange players to virtually visit the orphans wing of the hospital the same way. Sure, there is going to be a couple of seconds of delay but we can set up standard routines, like looking thoughtful and catch phrases, to fill in the blanks while responses are being transmitted back to LA and back. Most of the players are hyped up on steroids and self-love so using a telepresence hologram won’t make much of a difference.

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