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Must-click link: watch publicly-funded stadiums take over our nation

Dec 4, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

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Deadspin has a post up right now that is amazing and astounding.  I won’t say much about it because it’s really a visual thing, but know that it is a representation of how publicly-funded stadiums have spread across our land over the past couple of decades.

It’s really astounding, in a nation that has decided over the past 30 years that it’s the job of the government to do less and less, that we have allowed the government to become more and more responsible for paying sports facilities.

  1. kkolchak - Dec 4, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    It is a fallacy that the nation, or at least its bought and paid for “leaders,” has decided over the past 30 years that it’s the job of the government to do less and less. What was decided is that the government will do less and less for the average citizen but more and more for the billionaires who really own this country. It isn’t just sports stadiums. There are government giveaways to big business in nearly every field these days. Look at how willing the state of Rhode Island was to throw taxpayer money at that charlatan, Curt Shilling, for a frickin’ VIDEO GAME business, for example.

    America, land of the insider and home of the connected, where it isn’t what you know but whose back you can scratch that really matters.

    • paperlions - Dec 4, 2012 at 1:09 PM

      In fairness, that makes the US like every other country in the world, extant or otherwise. There has never in the history of the world been a meritocracy.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 4, 2012 at 1:38 PM

        Thank god.

    • historiophiliac - Dec 4, 2012 at 1:37 PM

      While I can’t quibble w/ your rant about corporate welfare, I feel compelled to point out that the federal government does much more for citizens today than it has done in the past as well. It’s not even, but government generally does more now. I really hate that narrative that government does less for people. It assumes a better recent past that did not exist.

      • kkolchak - Dec 4, 2012 at 2:57 PM

        Wait until the “austerity” gets shoved down our throats. I guarantee you it won’t be the corporate bigwigs who lose a dime. And it won’t even matter that Obama is the president. He is as big a corporate sellout as Romney would have been.

      • historiophiliac - Dec 4, 2012 at 3:13 PM

        I totally agree with you on that, kkolchak.

  2. pilonflats - Dec 4, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Lol, that’s a pretty bad analogy-there is a stark difference bw a region voting or being suckered into helping finance a stadium and the federal government imposing themselves into people’s lives and forcing them to submit to the political winds. However, I think most people agree that publicly funded stadiums are no bueno.

    • kkolchak - Dec 4, 2012 at 12:22 PM

      Shows how little you know. The federal government showers well over one trillion dollars in taxpayer money every year to defense and other “beltway bandit” contractors who make huge profits at the public’s expense and in most cases whose gigantic companies and huge CEO and board of directors salaries would not exist if they weren’t on the taxpayer dole.

      • pilonflats - Dec 4, 2012 at 2:57 PM

        Yeah, maybe if you actually read/understood what I said you wouldn’t throw out a red herring like that. Reading comprehension is important. And I don’t disagree with what you said

      • kkolchak - Dec 4, 2012 at 2:58 PM

        Yeah, well maybe you should have been a little more clear. Writing skills are important too.

  3. schlom - Dec 4, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    “t’s really astounding, in a nation that has decided over the past 30 years that it’s the job of the government to do less and less”

    Totally! We just had an election where the majority of the people voted for the candidate who wants to limit taxes and shrink the impact of government of it’s citizens lives.

  4. cur68 - Dec 4, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    Just in case anyone thought Canada was exempt to pandering to rich people who want to use public money for a stadium, a commenter on the deadspin piece pointed this out:

    SkyDome (now Rogers Centre) was built with public money for $570 million in 1989. By 1993 it had a $400 million debt. In 2004 the corporation that owned the stadium sold it to Rogers for $25 million.

    In the meantime, the owner of The Edmonton Oilers, one of the richest guys in Canada (per wikipedia: an estimated net worth of $US 2.0 billion) Daryl Katz, is trying to leverage the City of Edmonton into building his wealthy ass a new hockey stadium. He’s threatening to move the team if the city doesn’t give in and build it for him. So far the hockey strike has seen to it that talks on that have gone nowhere, and city officials seem to be saying “Try it, Daryl. See which city will build you a new stadium and which of the owners want you taking a piece of their attendance”. Since Alberta is one of the few provinces with the population and thriving economy to support the team, and the States are in a bit of a mess, he’s got nowhere else to go really, but stay tuned: given the trend to cave in to building stuff with public money for rich people, we might well see the taxpayer on the hook for poor old Katz’s new house.

    • dodger88 - Dec 4, 2012 at 12:33 PM

      As a former resident of Ontario and thus a former tax-payer I refuse, to this day, to call the stadium anything other “Skydome”. I helped pay for the name “Skydome” so shall it be called!

    • schlom - Dec 4, 2012 at 1:01 PM

      Not only that but the article points out that the most expensive stadium ever built was in Montreal for the 1976 Olympics – total cost in 2012 dollars was 2 billion!

    • historiophiliac - Dec 4, 2012 at 1:41 PM

      Weeeellll, no one wants to vacation or hold a convention in the pre-school education capital of the world or home to the nation’s top site for mine inspections. 😦

      • cur68 - Dec 4, 2012 at 1:59 PM

        And its a long way from the seal pup harvesting fields. You know what prime seal blubber costs out here? Its a crime I tell you!

      • historiophiliac - Dec 4, 2012 at 2:12 PM

        Booooo! Save the blubbers. 😦

    • bravojawja - Dec 4, 2012 at 2:34 PM

      He can bring his team to Atlanta. We already have a perfectly good place for a hockey team to play. Third time’s a charm!

      • cur68 - Dec 4, 2012 at 2:56 PM

        He’s talked about that but then he gets laughed at given how well supported the Oil are here and how poorly the Thrashers were there. As the majority of my fellow citizens say “That worked so well for everyone else, Daryl, why don’t you go ahead and see what its like to lose an estimated 50 million when you move a team to a place that has shown it doesn’t care about hockey?” Its not like OUR public funds are going to be used to move the team, now is it? Its not like Atlanta (victim of a nation wide recession) has the dough to bring the team over either, is it? Sure. Go for it: Convince Daryl to move over. I’d love to see him lose his shorts.

      • bravojawja - Dec 6, 2012 at 9:27 AM

        The problem with the Thrashers (and the Flames before them) wasn’t the fan base. It was ownership. When the owners aren’t willing to do what it takes to make a team good, the fans won’t care about the team, especially an ownership group as dysfunctional as Atlanta Spirit was (and is, but at least they seem to care about the Hawks).

        Atlanta isn’t going to go out of its way to get another hockey team, much to the dismay of all the Displaced Yankees up in the north burbs, but if someone wants to do the paperwork and pay for it, sure why not? In the meantime, we apparently only want to spend money on a new Falcons stadium.

  5. sophiethegreatdane - Dec 4, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    I’m finding it hard to get very upset with $30 billion spent over a period of 100 years. And those aren’t even real dollars as they are adjusted to 2012 dollars.

    Much, much more is wasted every year on even more ridiculous crap. Now listen, before you flame me I’m not advocating for more publicly funded stadium projects. I am saying that if this annoys you, then you aren’t paying attention to what is happening now, in real money real time.

    Want to make your head really spin? Take a look at tax dollars wasted every year on our ridiculous war on drugs. Or how much money was wasted *monthly* on the two wars of the last decade (sold to us by one of those “small government” conservatives I hear so much about, but never see.)

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