Is there any better financial deal in the world than being an NFL owner?

What other business owner gets a deal where they have a protected monopoly with antitrust exemptions up the gazoo, and virtually guaranteed appreciation of the business?

Name the last NFL franchise that sold for less than the owner paid for it … I can’t think of any either.

Due to all the public handouts and tax advantages, the supposed Lords of Capitalism are actually Masters of Socialism when it comes to their NFL franchises.

The Minnesota Vikings stadium is but the latest scam by NFL royalty. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell comes riding into town, suggests the team could soon be in Los Angeles if the fine people of Minnesota don’t build a new sports palace for the Vikes owners, and then quickly heads back out of town. Local politicians start tripping all over themselves to come up with a scheme to keep the Vikings in town without having to have a messy public vote. A last second deal is pushed through and signed by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton — a deal that will hurt taxpayers and possibly charities based on a bizarre sales tax deal that could increase the tax burden on Minnesota charities.

In a Huffington Post piece, Ilya Shapiro and Nicholas Mosvick write:

“The reality of the Vikings deal is that the owners will gain the most, not taxpayers or fans. Taxpayers will bear most of the risk, while the expected increase in the franchise’s value will accrue wholly to the owners — who will also be free from facility-financing costs. The owners will also have new revenue opportunities in the form of higher ticket prices, club seats, stadium-naming rights, and advertising. With all these luxury goodies, the only fans who will be able to actually attend the games are those with luxury incomes, many of whom will surely be writing the cost off their taxes as a business expense.”

Study after study on these sweetheart stadium deals for super wealthy owners show that the economic impact on the local community is in effect zilch at best. Not only that, some communities are left servicing debt on now-demolished stadiums (See the Kingdome in Seattle and the Meadowlands in New Jersey). Meanwhile, owner revenues from media deals and luxury boxes continue to skyrocket and franchise values appreciate at rates unheard of in other industries.

The move by Dayton (and the other pro-stadium politicians in Minnesota that pushed this stadium deal through in a brutal economy without a referendum) is despicable. I simply can’t think of a stronger word at this time.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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