A part of

Issue # 9 Thursday, Jan. 1, 1998

About the Author:

Charles Loyd McIntosh

In 1997 Charles Loyd McIntosh was a news writer for the Talledega Daily Home (www.dailyhome.com). He was a former reporter for The Western Star in Bessemer (a small city west of Birmingham), Alabama, and a former Sports Editor for the Clanton Advertiser. At the time he was writing for the Sideroad, Loyd was pursuing a Masters in English degree at the University of Montevallo, Alabama. An avid sports fan, soccer is Loyd's sport of choice, one he has been known to coach in the recent past.

". . . many sports team owners could care less about putting a winning team on the field. "


Are You Being Duped by Professional Sports Team Owners?

There was a special on ABC a few months ago that focussed on the art and science of panhandling and freeloading hosted by Geraldo Rivera look-alike John Stossell. Despite his Geraldo looks, Stosell did an outstanding job exposing all types of freeloading behavior from basic human temptations to sophistocated street peddlars to corporate welfare soakers.

The most interesting group he focused on, however, was professional sports team owners. According to the research Stosell and his staff at ABC conducted, many sports team owners could care less about putting a winning team on the field.

Here's how it works.

Team owners bitch, moan and groan to civic leaders until they get a brand spanking new stadium to "play in," at the taxpayers expense. Most everyone knows this. What most people don't know is that very little to no rent is paid back to the cities.

Case in point. The infamous Jerry Reinsdorf doesn't pay any rent to the city of Chicago or to the state of Illinois on the new Komiski Park if the White Sox draw less than one million fans in a season. Think back if you're a baseball. It now seems perfectly clear why Reinsdorf tried to trade his best players away when they were only two games behind the Indians.

In addition to not paying a dime for the use of the stadiums, the owners get most of the share from concessions and merchandise. And with most of the new stadiums coming complete with clothing shops, memorabilia shops and full services restaurants complete with a wine list and dessert coffees, very little money is made by local businesses in the area.

This negates the arguement that sports teams enhance an area's economic outlook. With virtually every athletic dollar being spent in a ballpark, nothing is less for the small businesses that normally surround a stadium. And, with most parks in economically depressed areas where people just simply don't casually find themselves, many of these businesses are seasonal at best, only operating when teams are in town.

In our current athletic climate, owners gain a monopoly of every dollar spent at athletic events and are alos paid quite handsomely by area governments. And, with all of their hollering about players' salaries, they make the players look like the selfish one, not themselves.

The bottom line is owners are rich. Period. They sponge everything they can off the system and then profit like bank robbers for the pleasure of bringing big time sports to a city.

It's a great business to be in.

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Text copyright Charles Loyd MacIntosh, 1997 - '98. Part of the original Sideroad ezine.
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