Don’t you just love those venerable, old stadiums and ball parks? Wrigley Field. Fenway Park. Dodger Stadium. Lambeau Field. The Rose Bowl. Edward Jones Dome.
In case that last one kind of caught you off guard, it’s the dump where the St. Louis Rams play.
The Rams want a new stadium and they, with the help of the NFL, are using a not so veiled threat to move to Los Angeles in order to get it.
The Edward Jones Dome opened in 1995. Yep, 19 years ago.
Remember when teams used to play in the same building for 50 or 60 years? That was when team owners paid for their own buildings.
As of 2012, 125 of the 140 teams in the NFL, Major League Baseball, NBA, NHL and Major League Soccer, were playing in stadiums built or refurbished since 1990. Most, if not all of them, were paid for mostly with tax payer dollars at a cost of more than $30 billion.
You’ve heard all the arguments about what a great idea it is for local and state governments to subsidize pro franchises.
They’re usually made by consultants paid for by team owners, or stupid and/or corrupt politicians. Economists who study the effect of the new stadiums after the fact tend to blow that theory out of the water.
Greg Mankiw, who’s chairman of the economics department at Harvard, did a survey of economists and 85% of them said that local and state governments should eliminate subsidies to professional sports franchises.
What do you suppose the local “leaders” were telling the fine citizens of St. Louis in the early nineties when they were trying to sell them on the idea of spending a quarter of a billion dollars on a stadium for the team that was going to be re-locating from Los Angeles?
Georgia Fronteire, the owner of the Los Angeles Rams, was tired of sharing a stadium with the California Angels and decided to move when she found out that the local politicians weren’t dumb or corrupt enough to give her one of her own.
So, here we are 19 years later and the usual promises and threats are being made.
There will be even more economic benefits with the new stadium than they got from the old dome and the Rams are threatening to move again.
To L.A., of course.
They would like a new $700 million stadium and would like the local taxpayers to pay for it.
As usual, there is plenty of media cheerleading being done on the part of the local thieves…er, team. In his St. Louis Post-Dispatch column on Tuesday, Bryan Burwell showed lots of impatience with the team and local politicians for not coming up with a deal that would keep the Rams in St. Louis.
Nowhere in his column did he question whether giving the Rams one dime of other people’s money to replace a 19 year old stadium was a good idea.
Nothing new in St. Louis.
It has happened and will continue to happen in cities all over North America.
The Rams will get their new stadium.
The NFL will let everyone know that it is willing to pay for half the cost of a new stadium in Los Angeles. More teams will threaten to move there and one eventually will.
That will open up another jilted city for an expansion team.
The jilted fans will be easily convinced that a new stadium will bring jobs, improve the quality of life in their neighborhood and help them overcome the embarrassment of losing a team.
Owners will get richer and politicians will be re-elected.
They all should be arrested.