Monday, July 03, 2006

More Sports Welfare

The craze of municipalities providing socialized sports arenas is astounding to me. Don't get me wrong- I get team owners asking for the moon. I just don't get the cities granting it.

I've seen this too many times. Living in Central Indiana, I have been witnessing the fattening of Jim Irsay with his amazing sweeheart deal for a new stadium. The negotiations were so foolish that the Colts got all $121 million+ on the naming rights with the state getting nothing.

Having lived in Cleveland, I witnessed the public financing of seperate arenas for the Browns, Indians, and Cavaliers, to the tune of nearly $2 billion. Yes, Cleveland is the Mistake on the Lake, and I'm glad to be far from it.

Fort Wayne's ball park is an excellent facility for mid-level minor league baseball, so I've been pretty astonished by discussions to build another park, or even to upgrade the existing Memorial Park. It's only, what- 10 years old?

I look at these negotiations like this: Owners of sports teams are children. Cities are parents. The family is shopping and the kids are begging, "Daddy, I want a new stadium". Or, "Mommy, I want a new scoreboard and an overhang over the grandstand". What we should hear is, "I'm sure you do want those things. Save your money and buy them". Or, we could even hear, "No".

No city is minor league because it lacks sports. A city might be minor league, however, if it prioritizes socialized baseball over funding safety forces such as police or fire departments, or the courts.

Link to the latest News Sentinel article on ballpark issues.

-Mike Kole


William Larsen said...

I could not agree with you more. Great description comparing sports' teams to children and the community as parents!

Fort Wayne does not need a new arena. If a sport's team wants one, then they should pay for it, not the taxpayers.

Jeff Pruitt said...

I agree 100%. Nobody cares about minor league baseball except downtown property owners. In fact I think LESS people (if that's possible) will attend games if the stadium is moved downtown because it will become too inconvenient.

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