Yesterday, I wrote about how the NFL uses the Los Angeles market as a blackmail tool for league owners to use as leverage to get new stadiums or stadium improvements in their respective cities. (See “New Kroenke LA Stadium“)
“Build me a new sports palace or I’m moving the team to LA,” is how the threat usually plays out. Seventeen NFL teams have played the LA card through the years in order to get public funding for new stadiums or stadium improvements in their markets.
Now, St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke says he’s going to build a new stadium in Los Angeles. We’ll see how St. Louis’ political leaders respond to that not-so-subtle threat.
Meanwhile, as of the end of 2014, Cleveland’s taxpayers (Cuyahoga County) have coughed up $127.5 million in the form of a sin tax to fund stadium and arena projects for the city’s NFL, NBA and MLB franchises. (See “Browns disgraceful season“) Starting in 2015, a new sin tax begins that will last 20 years and provide an additional $260-$270 million to the Browns, Cavaliers and Indians.
The city isn’t getting much return for their investment, especially with the Browns who have been horrible. Local taxpayers initially spent $300 million to build a new stadium for the Browns and have been coughing up dough for improvements ever since.
As Cleveland writer Mark Naymik wrote in 2012: “To the City of Cleveland, (the Browns stadium) remains a real financial liability. It’s worsened by a home team that’s been so bad for so long that the city can’t even take pride in the building.
“We need change. We need a better way to pay for stadiums. And we need a football team that finally merits our decision all those years ago to quickly build it a $300 million home on the lakefront.” (See “Cleveland Browns Stadium“)
Naymik wrote that before the Browns, Indians and Cavaliers funded a large-scale campaign to push the latest $260-$270 million sin tax through. (See Cuyahoga County sin tax passes comfortably)
By the way, the Indians’ stadium and Cavaliers’ arena are 20 years old, which means — based on how this blackmail game typically plays out around the country — team owners will soon be knocking on taxpayers’ doors asking for more money for new facilities.
Pro sports leagues in the United States are unregulated monopolies. That remains a very good deal for greedy team owners and a very bad deal for local taxpayers.
–Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
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
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
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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