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 #17 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports With Legendary New York Times Sports Columnist Robert Lipsyte – We chat about Lipsyte’s amazing career and some of the athletes he covered and got to know well, like Muhammad Ali, as well as his relationships with fellow sports journalists like Bob Costas and Howard Cosell.
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Episode #16 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Andrew Maraniss: Outstanding Author of Books That Focus On the Intersection of Sports, History and Social Justice.
Episode #15 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Psychology with Dr. Tim Rice. We discuss the growth of sports psychology at all levels, the positive impact that a number of high profile athletes have had by opening up, and the importance of everyone involved in sports caring for the whole athlete, mind and body.
Episode #14 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Making Sense of the Injury Pandemic in Major League Baseball – Gary McCoy is a strength, conditioning and high performance coach who has worked with several Major League Baseball organizations.
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.
Episode #12 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: A Fun Chat With Dan Gutman, Author of the Baseball Card Adventure Series for Kids
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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