Why subsidize millionaires and billionaires?

Here’s two cheers for Democratic Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña of San Diego. She’s introduced a new law that would ban stadium subsidies from taxpayers for the NFL — or any sports league — if it a “blackout” rule. Under the NFL’s current rule, if a game isn’t sold out within 72 hours of kickoff, broadcasts of it are blacked out for a 75-mile radius around the stadium.

I don’t give her three cheers — withholding one — because the ban should be comprehensive, whether or not leagues have blackout rules or not.

Today’s major-league owners are billionaires, with most of the NFL teams by themselves worth more than $1 billion.

The median salary in the NFL currently is $770,000.

Julius Peppers of the Carolina Panthers gets $16.7 million a year.

So, why should taxpayers subsidize the NFL? Supposedly, a city “loses” something if it doesn’t have an NFL team. Well, when I came to Southern California in 1987, we had two NFL teams: the Raiders and the Rams. Both left. I haven’t missed them even for a second.

If these millionaires and billionaires want new stadiums, they should pony up the money themselves.

— John Seiler

(Note: this was corrected to reflect that the bill would ban such subsidies for all leagues with blackouts, not just the NFL. — J.S.)

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  1. Joe Kocurek
    Joe Kocurek 9 March, 2010, 09:32

    The bill will actually apply to all professional sports receiving public subsidies.

    Joe Kocurek
    Office of Assembly Member Lori Saldana

    Reply this comment
  2. PRI
    PRI Author 9 March, 2010, 18:53

    Thanks for the correction, which I made, above.

    — John Seiler

    Reply this comment

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