Forum Post: Yet another example of Corporate welfare in which the rich benefit. NFL team owners and overpaid athletes.
Posted 5 years ago on Feb. 1, 2015, 9:24 a.m. EST by StillModestCapitalist
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
It's a given that any comment I post on this page or any other will be marked down into negative territory by the poser posse shule, turbocharger, johannus, SerfingUSA, flip and/or flip's wife. That's a given. The rest of you, those with a shred of conscience or any thought whatsoever not pertaining directly to the alleged 'duopoly', read this, take it to heart and please, for the good of society, STOP GIVING SO MUCH OF YOUR MONEY TO RICH PEOPLE. THIS INCLUDES YOUR PRECIOUS CELEBRITIES AND PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES.
Without further adieu,
Forget about the league’s federal antitrust exemption dating back to the ’60s that allows it to yank any game off broadcast television it likes if it feels there aren’t enough backsides in the seats. Let’s forget about the same antitrust exemption that declared the NFL a nonprofit 501(c)(6) organization on par with a Chamber of Commerce or real estate board. Hey, let’s even forget a Federal Communications Commission ruling that, for almost 40 years, forbids cable and satellite providers to switch to a live feed of a game that was blacked out in a local market.
That’s the burden we’re all bearing equally: The welfare of a supposedly “private,” “free-market” league that needs its hand held by Uncle Sam just to conduct simple business. The average of nearly $250 million per stadium in public funding that state and local taxpayers have allocated to building 21 NFL stadiums since 1997 — not counting multi-hundred-million-dollar renovations to facilities including the Georgia Dome in Atlanta and Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo? That’s just garnish.
Seattle is on the hook for the $300 million it paid for $460 million CenturyLink Stadium until the last bonds are settled in 2021. However, that city is still paying for the costs of its long-dead Kingdome through 2016. New England — and Massachusetts, specifically — got off light by comparison and only kicked in $72 million of Gillette Stadium’s $412 million cost. Much of that went straight to road, ramp and rail improvements around the stadium.
That leaves 30 NFL teams that didn’t make the cut, and 28 of them that took public money for their stadiums. (Only the New York Jets and Giants home at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., was built without public money.) Before Super Bowl XLIX kicks off in Glendale, Ariz. (which got hosed on a stadium deal in its own right), let’s take a look at the NFL cities across the country that pay the most for their Super Bowl experience.
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
Cost: $455 million
Cost to taxpayers: $308 million
Know who’s really looking forward to hosting Super Bowl XLIX? If you do, let the mayor of Glendale know so he can offload hosting duties at the last minute. Not only did local government pick up 68% of the tab for this suburban monstrosity, but Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers told ESPN Magazine this month that “I totally believe we will lose money” on the Super Bowl this year. Not only that, but earlier this year he estimated that his city lost $1 million the last time it hosted a Super Bowl in 2008. In the past 10 years, the city has built this stadium, an arena for the NHL’s Coyotes and a spring-training facility for baseball’s Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers. Building much of that before the recession left the city in hefty debt, and its experience with the 2008 Super Bowl made it realize that very little big-game windfall stays in Glendale. This year, most of the NFL’s Super Bowl festivities take place in Phoenix. As far as Glendale is concerned, they can keep it.
Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
Cost: $449.8 million
Cost to taxpayers: $424.8 million
Even beyond Cincinnati, this is widely considered the worst stadium deal in NFL history.
The last time the Bengals threatened to move in 1995, they told the folks in Hamilton County that a new stadium would create jobs and bring boatloads of money into the area. The county ponied up 96% of the funding for Paul Brown Stadium without help from the state or any other willing donor and waited for the returns to roll in. They never materialized and the recent recession turned all the stadium’s modest benefits into huge losses. Stadium debt has contributed to an annual budget deficit that hovers around $30 million. Sales taxes have sputtered over the past decade, enhancing that debt and eliminating funding for programs such as a juvenile court and a property-tax cut promised as part of the stadium deal. In 2012, the team sought $43 million from the county for stadium renovations despite blacking out 10 home games in the two years prior. Last year, the Bengals squeezed another $7.5 million out of Hamilton County for a new scoreboard to fulfill the “state-of-the-art” clause of its terrible lease. The worst part? Because Paul Brown Stadium is a 20-year-old open-air facility that endures Cincinnati winters, Hamilton Country’s tax dollars are likely paying for a Super Bowl that will never be played in their stadium.
AT&T Stadium, Dallas, Texas
Cost: $1.2 billion
Cost to taxpayers: $444 million
In this corner of Texas, getting the Cowboys a new home by kicking in only 37% of the cost is considered a bargain. No, Arlington doesn’t get much credit when “Dallas” is still in the franchise name, but Arlington voters approved a 0.5% increase of the city’s sales tax, a 2% hike in the hotel-occupancy tax and a 5% uptick in car-rental tax to cover its bonds. After all, it wasn’t as if Irving objected all that much when the Cowboys called Texas Stadium home. However, when it finally landed Super Bowl XLV in 2010, a mishap prevented the installation of 1,200 seats and led to hefty triple refunds for disgruntled ticketholders and, eventually, a $5 million class-action suit against the NFL, the Cowboys and Jerry Jones. When even season ticketholders are suing you because they were forced to sit in folding chairs during the Super Bowl, maybe you’ve misallocated some of your stadium funding.
Vikings Stadium, Minneapolis, Minn.
Cost: $1.024 billion
Cost to taxpayers: $498 million
Ah, yes: The old “give me money or I’ll move to Los Angeles” gambit. Vikings owner Zygi Wilf played that one well and got the state of Minnesota and the city of Minneapolis to go along for the ride. Forget the Vikings’ 54-year history in Minnesota and the NFC North: With the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome’s roof collapse moving games in 2010 and competing L.A. stadium plans just waiting for a team, Minnesota collectively freaked out and came up with a plan for a new stadium on the Metrodome site that the state would pay for through “charitable gambling.” Though the plan was approved in 2012, the funding portion seemed doomed from the start and led to a tax on cigarette inventory instead. Minneapolis, meanwhile, will end up paying $678 million over its 30-year payment plan once interest, operations and construction costs are factored in. It earned Minneapolis a Super Bowl hosting gig in 2018, but also got it a 150-page list of Super Bowl demands from the NFL that will only cost the host city and state more money. Nicely done, Minnesota.
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Ind.
Cost: $719.6 million
Cost to taxpayers: $619.5 million
Let’s see if we’re understanding you correctly, Indianapolis: You’re willing to wail over Bill Belichick and Tom Brady’s deflated balls for weeks on end after they played almost no role in a game your Colts lost 45-7, but you won’t make so much as a peep about Jim Irsay and company sticking you with 86% of your stadium’s cost? That $619.5 million is more than the total cost of all but four stadiums in the league: the New York area’s MetLife ($1.6 billion), AT&T Stadium in Dallas ($1.2 billion), Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara ($1.3 billion) and the Minnesota Vikings’ new stadium ($1.024 billion). That doesn’t count the $75 million in debt Indianapolis still owes on the long-since-imploded RCA Dome, which the city will be paying off until 2021. And how is Irsay — a man who was fined $500,000 by the NFL and suspended for six weeks last year for driving while intoxicated — repaid for this fleecing, which will have surrounding counties paying higher food and beverage taxes in perpetuity? By being awarded the 2012 Super Bowl and the 2010, 2015 and 2021 NCAA Men’s Final Four. None of which will reduce the local stadium-related tax burden or pay off the public portion of stadium debt any quicker.