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BrooksMustGo 04-09-2005 11:56 PM

Dr Z's New Stadium Thoughts


Owners' Greed Fuels Stadium Craze
I will never be in favor of a football stadium funded, even in part, by taxpayers' dollars. Rich people should pay for their own toys. For years the NFL has been conducting surveys that show how much the entire community benefits from a new stadium, and right along with them have come alternate surveys showing how it doesn't help the ordinary taxpayer at all. Which survey do you read?

I have yet to figure out how a guy working, say, in a factory, has a better way of life because of a new stadium. I've heard the traditional argument -- more tax revenue somehow filtering down to programs to help ordinary people, but there's never any guarantee as to how those funds will be used.

And it always shocks me to see how soon a new stadium "deteriorates," as they like to put it, although I have a hard time seeing the difference from when it was first built. Giants Stadium is the latest one. The Giants have filed suit against the New Jersey Sports Authority and Exposition that controls the stadium, demanding a "state-of-the art" facility, whatever that means.

Translation-more luxury boxes, which translate to more revenue. A few years ago the Giants moved the press box way up into the stratosphere, so the original area could be used for more of those luxury things. Now they need more. The facility itself still looks just fine to me, just as nice as when it first went up, but that was before the days of the great spawning of the boxes.

Patriots' owner Bob Kraft was quoted on not so long ago describing a day in which he took his son to see the team's first home playoff game, against the Houston Oilers in 1978. He mentioned sitting in that "broken-down old stadium," in Foxboro. Hey, the stadium was seven years old at the time.

I hope the prospective Jets stadium in New York City never gets built, at least not the way they proposed it, with part of it funded by taxpayers' dollars. Too many other projects need it more. Strangely enough, I had a talk the other day with the Jets' former player personnel director, Mike Hickey, and he had a different take on it, something I never thought of.

"I'll bet you right now," he said, "that if that thing ever goes up, you're going to see premiums imposed --Â licenses, in other words."

Premiums or licenses, or whatever you want to call them, were the original brainchild of the Dallas Cowboys, where Hickey got his start in the NFL. It means that you have to pay a lump sum for the right to purchase season tickets --Â in the Cowboys' case, $10,000. It always struck me as the ultimate ripoff, but Hickey swears that Jets fans can look forward to it.

"All those loyal fans who followed the Jets wherever they went, from Shea to Giants Stadium," Hickey says. "Now they're gonna ask them to come up with a big number in front. You know what you'll see? You'll see the ordinary fans leaving and their places taken by corporations. And that's what the NFL has become, a corporate game."

Tobias-Reiper 04-10-2005 08:32 AM

Dr Z's New Stadium Thoughts

..and the man is absolutely right... I\'ve said that before, that \"state of the art\" just means more luxury boxes, PSLs, and shops. It\'s not like the guys in the bleachers are going to get cushioned seats and cup holders, you still get small, uncomfortable plastic seat, and a horrible view, but now you get to pay for the PSL...

JKool 04-10-2005 10:26 AM

Dr Z's New Stadium Thoughts
Nice find BMG.

That was an interesting read.

cardboardboxer 04-11-2005 12:33 AM

Dr Z's New Stadium Thoughts
Dr. Z is by far my favorite sports writer.

Big market teams should pay for the stadiums. The Houstons own most of their staduim I think (and the place is a dream. really bright and huge. team sucks, but place is nice). But the owner is super rich. And less cheap. I went to his church once (my grilfriend\'s parents go to the same church) and I saw he gives over 2 mil a year.

But Jones is going to get the Dallas metroplex to pay. And they will, they love the cowboys.

4saintspirit 04-11-2005 08:24 AM

Dr Z's New Stadium Thoughts
I can say this -- I have been a season ticket holder for years -- and I will not shell out 5K (or more) for the right to buy tickets -- If Benson did that he may as well move the team because the stands will be completely empty

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