By Ken Reed
Politicians are so messed up, so misguided, that they can declare bankruptcy one day, and then approve millions of taxpayer dollars to build a sparkling sports palace for a wealthy team owner the next.
That’s not hyperbole, it actually recently happened in Michigan.
As The Nation sports policy columnist Dave Zirin so aptly put it:
“The very week Michigan Governor Rick Snyder granted a state-appointed emergency manager’s request to declare the Motor City bankrupt, the Tea Party governor gave a big thumbs-up to a plan for a new $650 million Detroit Red Wings hockey arena. Almost half of that $650 million will be paid with public funds.”
The right-wing spin masters love to claim that new stadiums and arenas revitalize cities, put people to work, and lead to economic booms. The evidence says the contrary.
Upon thorough analysis, rarely do these public stadium projects provide any positive financial impact for a city. The gross and net job gains are pathetically small. Roger Noll, a Stanford economist and expert on the economic impact of new stadia, emphatically believes that publicly-financed stadiums are not a net local benefit. (See previous League of Fans take on publicly-financed stadium projects)
Detroit provides a perfect case study on the economic impact — or lack thereof — of new taxpayer-built stadiums. Detroit built the Detroit Tigers’ Comerica Park and the Detroit Lions’ Ford Field. Each of these publicly-financed sports palaces was promoted as a way to turn Detroit’s fortunes around. Obviously, those new stadiums did very little to boost Detroit’s overall economic situation.
Michigan governor Rick Snyder should be ashamed of himself. He’s the most recent low-life politician in the public spotlight. After watching Detroit file bankruptcy and slash the city’s budgets for a multitude of city services, he approves $283 million in taxpayer money to go to a new sports palace for Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch, whose family is worth close to $3 billion.
We now have a leader in the politicians’ clubhouse for “warped priorities.” His name is Rick Snyder.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #13 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Conversation With Long-Time MLB Exec Dan Evans About What’s Right With Baseball and What Could Be Better – Evans is a former general manager for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is currently a consultant for Go the Distance Baseball, which owns the Field of Dreams movie site. We discuss his experience at the MLB game at Field of Dreams; his thoughts on the appeal of the Field of Dreams, and baseball in general.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
Episode #11 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Latest on Brain Trauma, Concussions and CTE with Dr. Chris Nowinski – Nowinski is CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation.
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO.
Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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