By Ken Reed
Kevin B. Blackstone had a terrific piece in The Washington Post recently about creative ways stadiums and arenas — usually funded entirely, or in large part, by taxpayer dollars — have been used for positive social impact activities. Even privately built stadiums and arenas are typically the beneficiaries of publicly-funded roads, sewers and transportation hubs around the sites and should be available for public purposes. These stadiums and arenas — especially NFL stadiums — sit unused for numerous days every year.
Blackstone writes about how World Central Kitchen Chef José Andrés uses stadiums as huge food prep and distribution centers in this country, as well as around the world, to feed thousands in need.
Andrés calls these venues “gigantic kitchens” and “fields of hope.”
NBA and WNBA players made headlines before the November election last year for convincing team owners to open their arenas and practice facilities as polling places. That effort made voting more accessible for thousands of Americans.
Others, beyond Andrés, have found creative ways to use stadiums, which given their public funding are actually part of a city’s civic infrastructure, like roads and bridges.
“The public has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on these facilities,” said Michael Friedman, an instructor in Maryland’s kinesiology department and expert on stadiums and public policy. “These are the largest spaces that we as a society build for communal events.”
In addition to giant polling places and kitchens, stadiums and arenas (most notably the luxury suites) can be used as shelters during emergencies.
“They’re very centric, have big spaces and are easy to organize,” said Andrés.
“It’s amazing to see such an important role these stadiums can play. If it’s public money … then these venues should be able to be used as some sort of humanitarian response. We need to be thinking that way going forward.”
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
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 in the year 2022.
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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.
Episode #20 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Coaching Youth and High School Sports Based On What’s Best for the Athlete’s Holistic Development – We chat with long-time youth, high school and college basketball coach Jim Huber.
Episode #19 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Capturing the Spirit of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League with Anika Orrock – We discuss the hoops AAGPFL women had to jump through to play the game they loved as well as the long-term impact and legacy they have in advancing sports opportunities for girls and women.
Episode #18 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking about the 50th Anniversary of Title IX and the Lia Thomas Controversy with Nancy Hogshead-Makar – Hogshead-Makar is a triple gold medalist in swimming, a civil rights attorney and CEO of Champion Women.
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.
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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