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"Do we really want to subsidize the losers? This is America!" (Sports ITT)


Well-Known Member
Local politics is what interests me the most. But usually I can't bring it up here since...well, no one cares, has similar experiences, etc...

But as I've been reading up on the latest Pacers controversy (this time, it isn't a criminal charge!), I found this quote from David Stern, Commissioner of the NBA:

I would say that a good number of our franchises are not profitable.
back in March 2008

But just three months earlier, Forbes says something completely different!

But numbers compiled by Forbes tell quite a different story. The value of the typical NBA franchise rose 6% this year, to $372 million, as the Knicks became the first basketball team worth $600 million. NBA teams posted an average profit (in the sense of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $9.8 million, on revenues of $119 million. This is the highest income since Forbes began tracking basketball team finances 10 years ago.

The NBA's financial success is a result of three components: a steady increase in gate receipts; bigger TV deals, despite sagging ratings; and a collective bargaining agreement that tightly controls spending on players.
So teams are losing money, despite growing ticket sales and rising salary caps and increased player salaries and all the other signs that generally show a profit?

And then there's what's happening in my neck of the woods.
The TLDR is this:

  1. Market Square Arena was the team's first stadium, since imploded. The city still is paying back loans from building it, shown in a 1% sales tax on food/drink.
  2. New arena, Conseco Fieldhouse, was also mostly publicly financed, again with a 1% sales tax on food/drink within the county.
  3. The Capital Improvement Board, which handles negotiations between the Pacers and the city, has $20 million in debt.
  4. The Pacers claim they can't afford Conseco Fieldhouse's operating cost of $15 million. (oh, and they make money on non-basketball events held their too)
  5. The Pacers hate the idea of a tax on tickets, because no one is going to the games anyway. The logical people hate the idea of another food/drink/hotel tax, because businesses don't need another cost and we don't want to pay for it.

(Personally, I think the city could just say "No way" and do nothing, and the Pacers won't move. Because in this economic climate, what city is going to purchase a sports franchise?)

And apparently, this type of subsidizing for sports teams isn't uncommon. From just random google, cities of all shapes, sizes, and political stripes are either giving money directly to the teams or stadiums or indirectly through private tax breaks. I thought the New England Patriots payed for their new stadium, but it turns out they just did more than usual.

How is it done in your area? (and if it isn't done, why isn't it? Would you be in support of it?)

What do you think of it?

Do you think it actually benefits the city it's in (financially), as it's proponents often say?

Hypothetical: How would you feel if your city government made an offer to the Pacers if they were going to leave their current market? Why would you support it? If not, why and would there be certain conditions in which you would support it?

EDIT: 78 views and no response? Maybe I'll re-post this in Entertainment or general Misc.
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