Jim Brown’s Weekly Column: Should State Government Subsidize Pro Sports?

Thursday, January 16th, 2014
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Should State Government Subsidize Pro Sports?

Throughout the current NFL season, I have remained a die-hard New Orleans Saints fan. But I have also admired the Green Bay Packers.The Packers are one of the best examples of how a sports franchise should operate. They don’t go to the state capitol hat in hand, looking for a handout. The team is owned by citizen stockholders from all over Wisconsin, and the Packers’ management doesn’t regularly try to blackmail public officials into giving them more handouts under threat of picking up and moving the franchise.

Recently, when it came time for Green Bay to revamp and refurnish legendary Lambeau Field, the state of Wisconsin didn’t put up one penny. All proceeds to pay for the renovations came from the private sector. Season ticket holders were charged a one-time user fee of $1400, which fans can pay over several years. In addition, the Packers did a stock offering, just like many corporations do for capital improvements. And finally, the Packers took out a team loan to be repaid out of yearly revenues. No sweetheart deals from the state, no special considerations, no coming to the public trough for taxpayer money.

What happens in some states, including my home state of Louisiana, is that team owners cry wolf saying that they will have no choice but to move their franchise elsewhere if the tax incentives and outright dollars are not bountifully offered. But a review of the NFL team financial arrangements will show that team income is structured in such a manner that it is theoretically possible to run a profitable franchise even in a small location like my old hometown of Ferriday.  Continue Reading…………

4 thoughts on “Jim Brown’s Weekly Column: Should State Government Subsidize Pro Sports?”

  1. I would have to say I disagree with state government assisting sports teams. I can understand the state putting up money for the initial stadium build but after that, the team should support itself.

    Traditionally, I have been against salary caps but over the last 10 years I have seen more of a reason to implement a mechanism in MLB. It seems there are more and more older stars past their prime and average level players making inflated salaries.

    I would like to see a base salary (500k to 2M) implemented that is structured on seniority. Then the remaining salary earned by performance output. For example, each home run or RBI can be worth X dollars. As heavy as MLB is on statistics, I am sure they could develop a complex metric system that would do the job.

    1. The Southern states have been experts in disrupting the auto manufacuring realm in the US all while luring in foreign automakers exactly the way you described.

      Our federal government also helped destroy the auto manufacturing in the US by letting Hyundai and KIA dump automobiles on the US market dirt cheap in the 80’s and 90’s. That’s why I think it was the responsibility of the goverent to bail out GM and Chrysler. They were the ones who helped cause the financial downfalls of these corporations.

      8 years ago I remember taking a course with the federal government which entailed product quality and manufacturing and the professor passed out a pamphlet about the Nissan plant in canton. In the pamphlet it had text regarding the plants numerous safety hazards. That kind of crap would never be allowed in Detroit or Lansing MI assembly plants.

  2. Jim, wasn’t that the reason types including Schwegmann roundly savaged the nonsense on devoting large sums of money to a stadium, even worse, a stadium placed in a restricted area, subject to absurd space restrictions, a traffic engineering bad joke, simply to bootstrap another public enterprise?

    Simply on the order of the “broken window pane” theory of economics.

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