Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The CBA: That's irritating

Our old friend, Rog (aka the Commish) sent an op-ed piece around.  In it, one thing he said was:
"Owners need more money to offset costs of financing, building, maintaining and operating stadiums. We need new stadiums in Los Angeles, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Oakland and San Diego."

Hold the phone.  That just irritates me.  Why?  Well let me splain:
  • Nearly every NFL stadium, no I'm sure its EVERY stadium, is subsidized by public funds in some way.  To say that they need that money for financing or building a stadium is disingenuous. 
  • Previously, there was a fund for interest-free loans that owners could use to pay for stadium improvements, but owners dipped way in and took everything, and as I understand it, depleted it.  So, if that couldn't be managed correctly, how can they manage larger sums?
  • Typically an owner is playing with other people's money when it comes to the big $$ in a stadium deal (just look at how the Fins are trying to get someone else to pay for the upgrades "to support a superbowl.")
  • As for maintaining and operating stadiums, that's what luxury boxes, parking, and general concessions should be paying for! I get it, they want more, but that seems greedy to me

And as for new stadiums, lets look at each of the ones on the list:
  • Minneapolis' stadium needs roof repairs/a new roof, how does that qualify as a new stadium?
  • Oakland does have an older stadium, and they share it with a baseball team.  But its undergone some pretty serious renovations over the years.  I think the larger issues are that its not owned by Al Davis, and they have to share it.
  • San Francisco - this one is somewhat political, as they are in negotiations with Santa Clara to build a new stadium.  Yeah, this building is old, and probably needs to be replaced, but  $1billion off the top wouldn't be enough, given that its essentially divided 32 ways (about $31 million each), so they'd still need city/state funds to pay for it.
  • San Diego has been turned down by the city and state numerous times.  While they do need some new digs -  or a serious renovation - I don't see a scenario where the ownership pays for it out of pocket; they're more likely to move than do that
  • and LA doesn't have a team so WTF?  
So I say to the owners: you're a private club and you're using my tax dollars, as well as any money I give you for tickets, merchandise, etc, and an indirect cut of whatever I pay to your advertisers.  And yet you want to keep your books a secret.  Why?  Because you have something to hide?  Why not go ahead and throw open those books and let us all see what you have?

If your situation is what you tell us it is, then maybe I'd be more apt to support your position.  But I can only assume you're just being, ahem, capitalistic, and trying to get what you can for free.  And I just can't support that.
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