League of Fans

Founded by Ralph Nader, League of Fans is a sports reform project working to improve sports by increasing awareness of the sports industry's relationship to society, exposing irresponsible business practices, ensuring accountability to fans, and encouraging the industry to contribute to societal well-being.

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League of Fans' letter to Missouri Governor Bob Holden urging him to oppose state taxpayer subsidies for a new St. Louis Cardinals stadium

The Honorable Bob Holden
Governor of Missouri
P.O. Box 720
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0720

Dear Governor Holden,

On Tuesday, February 20, a bill was introduced in the Missouri House proposing the taxpayer subsidization of the owners of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball franchise. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate the following day. No longer should we be pushed around by the well-financed ownership of sports franchises looking to increase their personal wealth through taxpayer-soaked schemes such as the one you and the two legislative houses are currently addressing.

Undoubtedly, you are experiencing tremendous pressure from the lobbyists of the Cardinals owners, playing the extortion card by threatening to leave. The owners want to keep the negotiations in Jefferson City because they think they have you. If brought to a vote of the people, whether it be a statewide referendum or within the city of St. Louis, the Cardinals owners know that the citizens are overwhelmingly against this corporate welfare plan, so they will make sure a referendum never occurs.

As you consider these requests for stadium subsidies with promises from the owners that the public will get a return on its investment, please bear in mind that no government has ever recovered its investment in a baseball stadium. With the Cardinals seeking to avoid paying rent, to capture all stadium revenue, to divert their taxes into paying for their portion of the cost, to retain all of the lucrative naming rights revenue and to skip out on property taxes for the struggling St. Louis schools, the state of Missouri and city of St. Louis certainly will not be the exception to that rule.

The sports fans have done their part, and the taxpayers certainly have more pressing needs that deal with real life. Please tell the Cardinals owners that if they want a profitable new stadium, they should build it, without taxpayer subsidies.

I look forward to your response.


Shawn McCarthy
Director, League of Fans