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 #29 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Honorable Tom McMillen Visits League of Fans’ Sports Forum – McMillen is a former All-American basketball player, Olympian, Rhodes Scholar and U.S. Congressman, and has a long involvement with the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport (now called the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition). We discuss the state of college athletics today, given the pressures of NIL, the transfer portal, sports gambling and huge media contracts. McMillen then provides great perspective on the poor state of physical fitness our young people are experiencing today.
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More Episodes on Apple Podcasts; Spotify; Google Podcasts; PocketCasts; & Anchor
Episode #28 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Chat With Mano Watsa, a Leading Basketball and Life Educator – Watsa is President of PGC Basketball, the largest education basketball camp in the world. We discuss problems in youth sports today.
Episode #27 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Kids’ Sports: How We Can Take Back the Game and Restore Quality Family Time In the Process – Linda Flanagan is author of “Take Back the Game: How Money and Mania Are Ruining Kids’ Sports and Why It Matters.” We discuss how commercialized and professionalized youth sports are hurting kids and their families.
Episode #26 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Fix Youth Sports? – John O’Sullivan is Founder and CEO of Changing the Game Project and author of “Changing the Game: The Parents Guide to Raising Happy, High Performing Athletes and Giving Youth Sports Back to Our Kids.”
Episode #25 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Physical Education Should Be a Critical Component of K-12 School Design – Michael Horn is co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.
Episode #24 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Mental Health and Athletes: Ending the Stigma – Nathan Braaten and Taylor Ricci are the founders of Dam Worth It, a non-profit created to end the stigma around mental health at colleges and universities through sport, storytelling, and community creation.
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.
- Reed Appears on Ralph Nader Radio Hour League of Fans’ sports policy director, Ken Reed, Ralph Nader and the New York Times’ Tyler Kepner discussed a variety of sports issues on Nader’s radio show as well as Reed’s updated book, How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan. Reed's book was released in paperback in February, and has a new introduction and several updated sections.
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.
Vanderbilt Sport & Society - On The Ball with Andrew Maraniss with guest Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director for League of Fans and author of How We Can Save Sports: A Game Plan
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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Ken Reed’s Author Page on Amazon