by Ken Reed
Through the years, National Football League (NFL) owners have become experts at extorting public funds from cities for the purpose of getting new or improved stadiums. Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Hockey League (NHL) owners have also been adept at playing this game.
However, today it’s the NFL that’s in the extortion spotlight. Three franchises, the St. Louis Rams, San Diego Chargers, and Oakland Raiders are all working on threats to move their teams to the open Los Angeles marketplace unless their existing cities build them new sports palaces.
The Rams and owner Stan Kroenke struck first. Kroenke announced plans, as part of a partnership, to build a new 80,000- seat stadium in the old Hollywood Park race track area near Los Angeles. Of course, this announcement turned up the heat considerably on St. Louis politicians to come up with a plan for a new stadium in the St. Louis area for Kroenke’s Rams. St. Louis taxpayers beware!
A short while later, the Chargers and Raiders teamed up to use the L.A. market as a leveraging tool to get their own new stadiums in San Diego and Oakland respectively. The two franchises have collaborated on a plan to get a new stadium in Carson, California, which is also near Los Angeles. In theory, the two franchises would share the new stadium.
In a move that’s not surprising given the history of the stadium extortion game, the Carson city council put the stadium project on the fast track, bypassing a special vote.
All three NFL franchises have now implemented the “Or Else” strategy. Build us a new stadium with plenty of revenue-generating luxury suites and club seats or else we’re moving to another city.
This is the kind of stuff that happens when the country allows professional sports leagues to operate unchecked as self-regulated monopolies. Greed and profit-at-all-costs (PAAC) mentalities drive the bus. Struggling taxpayers and communities be damned.
— 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.
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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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