Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Cost of Keeping a Pro Sports Franchise

Somebody asked me yesterday, if I thought taxpayers should pay for a new stadium when they aren't even a sports fan. Man, that's a loaded question. In all fairness, I am a huge sports fan, but I understand how somebody that's not could be a little pissed off if their tax money went to build a playground for multimillionaires.

Here's the deal... When it comes to taxes, each of us probably pays for something that we probably don't use or don't agree with. I can't tell you the last time I visited any publicly funded park up or museum. It's been over four years since my youngest daughter graduated from high school, yet I'm still paying property taxes to fund education. Think about the people who can't, or don't want to have children. Is it fair for them to pay to educate your children? Taxpayers, through incentives, are always paying to attract new businesses, or keep established businesses from leaving town. We all grumble about paying these taxes, but it's all about living in a community.

I lived in Las Vegas for over five years. Despite all the excitement, glitz and glamour, there seemed to be something missing. I would argue that missing link was a major league sports franchise. These franchises are great for bringing in community together. And if there was a city in this country that I felt never had a sense of community, it would be Las Vegas.

I would suggest that people not hate the player, but hate the game. The precedent has already been set, where sports franchises can demand that communities contribute to building facilities for their teams, with the threat of relocation. I don't like it anymore than you, but my friends, it's just a cold reality.

In the case of the Minnesota Vikings stadium issue, I would hope that they can find funding that would impact the least amount of people who have no interest in professional football. But make no mistake, the impact of losing the Vikings will make us less of a community.

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