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 #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.” We discuss overzealous adults in youth sports, the dangers of sport specialization, youth sports entrepreneurs and the profit-at-all-costs mindset, and the growing socio-economic gap in youth sports.
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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.
Episode #23 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley Talks Title IX, Youth Sports and the Olympics.
Episode #22 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Rethinking Sports Fandom with Author Craig Calcaterra – We discuss Calcaterra’s new book “Rethinking Fandom: How to Beat the Sports-Industrial Complex at Its Own Game” and explore new ways to be a fan.
Episode #21 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Chatting About a Broken Game With Baseball Writer Pedro Moura – Moura is a national baseball writer for Fox Sports. We discuss how and why the game of baseball is broken, what factors caused it, and offer a few thoughts on how to “fix” a great game.
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.
- League of Fans Sports Policy Director Ken Reed quoted in Washington Post column titled "What happened to P.E.? It’s losing ground in our push for academic improvement," by Jay Mathews
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.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
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