With kickoff just around the corner for the NFL regular season, you should know that the chances that you will be able to afford tickets are lower than ever. Funny, that your taxes can be spent on stadium construction, but the ticket and concession prices are set so high that you, the taxpayer can’t afford tickets. Just how bad is it?
So, the Chicago Bears moved into the historic Soldier Field and proceeded to renovate the hell out of it. Inevitably, this caused Soldier Field to lose its landmark status in 2006 which cost the Illinois taxpayer $387 million. Other than luxury boxes, what have fans received for their trouble? Only three winning seasons.
Only recently losing its status as the “worst stadium deal in the league,” Lucas Oil Stadium cost the taxpayers of Indiana $619.5 million. These costs added to an already staggering amount of debt for Indianapolis which is still paying for the now demolished RCA Dome. Indianapolis taxpayers have been footing the bill for two football stadiums for almost a decade.
Using a tried-and-true scare tactic— threaten to move the team to LA, alleged racketeer Zygi Wilf used the Vikings to pillage the wonderful citizens of Minneapolis out of almost $500 million for the U.S. Bank Stadium. The 2018 Super Bowl is scheduled to play there; however, the NFL forced some insane conditions on the city which will limit the revenue this cash-strapped fan base can receive.
We know, $200 million, doesn’t seem like an exorbitant price for a stadium but after you add in the interest makes the total amounts to about $700 million. This is the steal of a deal Atlanta just got for the new Falcon’s stadium. But wait, there’s more, Atlanta’s tax funds were only part of the sacrifice these fans offered for their replacement of the Georgia Dome. Team owner, Arthur Blank also displaced two churches to get the land, threatening the congregations with eminent domain. The good news for the fans is that at least concessions will be reasonable, although the bad news for fans is that only season ticket holders can go to the game.
Last, no run down of bad stadium deals would be complete without talking about Las Vegas’ new stadium. After shady backroom deal after shady backroom deal, LV Raiders owner Mark Davis convinced the city to part with $750 million in hotel taxes. Using hotel taxes to pay for a sports stadium isn’t necessarily a bad idea — that is until you realize that this decision will reduce the availability of funds for LV public schools, which happen to draw from the same source.
The biggest problem with all of these stadium developments isn’t that billions of dollars have been used to pay for these projects, it’s that the interests of taxpaying fans continually get written out of the equation. Tickets and concession prices remain insanely high, we’d see it as price-gouging. It is almost impossible for an average family to spend an afternoon cheering on their local team without taking a hard hit to their wallets. Why aren’t owners willing to set reasonable ticket prices or provide more public good to the community? The answer is that you, the fans are the lowest item on their priority list and greed is number one.