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
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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