Dear Professional Sports Team Owners, Stop Holding Your Cities Hostage
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Relocation seems to be part and parcel of the sports world here in America. Many teams over the years have relocated; many of the original NBA franchises relocated, many baseball franchises, as well as hockey franchises. Football has a couple of infamous ones; the Colts and the Ravens, both of whom were essentially stolen overnight. Now, there are many reasons why teams may relocate, some of them justifiable. Fan interest may be low, there may be little incentive to invest in the franchise, etcetera. However, one of the most abhorrent and deplorable reasons for moving a team? Not being able to subsidize a stadium, and forcing the onus onto the cities they reside in. This is wrong for many, many reasons.

For one, cities have other, more pressing reasons to provide money to projects. Other projects will spur economic growth better in the long term and are less risky since the sports franchises are volatile and subject to change depending on team performance. There are more important public services that cities also provide; funding for infrastructure, law enforcement, utilities, and neighborhood-based investments such as community centers and parks. All of this far more important than a sports stadium, especially in cities where no space may be present. This is part of why the city of St. Louis vetoed a proposal to construct a new stadium utilizing sales taxes; the citizens didn't feel that money should be allocated towards it.

Another issue is that the economics surrounding stadiums is shaking at best. Many economists agree that the relative benefits are outweighed by any potential costs. Take football stadiums; these are used for, usually, some preseason games, 8 regular season games, then maybe playoff games, if the team possesses the talent. That does not sound like a phenomenal return on investment. Other stadiums, like basketball and hockey stadiums, may be able to host other events, but this may depend on the market. If you're, say, the Warriors, the Oracle may not be the primary venue, considering that San Francisco is a big (and noteworthy) bridge away. Other cities may be passed over entirely. Now, the owners may see this risk and try to compel the city to pay to erect the stadium... but why would they take the risk on a set of individuals whose main priority is to amass wealth?

Third; most of these owners could gladly afford the construction of a new stadium if need be. Let's take a more recent case as an example; Anthony Precourt. The current owner of the Columbus Crew inserted a provision into his contract that allowed the team to be moved to Austin, and would gladly subsidize the construction of it, even if it was far away from his preferred "downtown Austin." Columbus? Is not afforded that same leniency or privilege. They are required to fund the construction of his vision, even if the stadium they currently have is a measly 4.1 miles from downtown Columbus. The St. Louis project easily could have gone through, since the owners had already put up most of the money. It is pathetic to force a city to turn to their coffers to benefit the pockets of the franchise's owners when those same owners could easily afford to either subsidize the construction of the stadium.

We have seen what happens to cities who do not capitulate, do not acquiesce to the demands of these franchises. Cities that were hamstrung by investments into existing sports stadiums, like Seattle, could only watch as the beloved and adored Supersonics departed for Oklahoma City. The Quebec Nordiques packed up quickly and left for Denver. The Grizzlies and San Jose Earthquakes both left their cities of origin behind, though San Jose was granted a team in the future. Even San Diego, the home of the Chargers essentially since its' inception, bolted for LA. Other cities averted catastrophes; the Kings managed to remain in Sacramento, and AFC Wimbledon was revived soon after their beloved team was moved to Milton Keynes, a move forever derided by soccer fans. Look, I know these are expensive ventures and undertakings.

However, leaving cities to pay the bill via taxes, only for them to be constantly and incessantly threatened, is not a good strategy. Citizens should not have to suffer through needless taxes so a team can go 28-54, while their infrastructure and social programs go unfunded.

Save The Crew. Build YOUR OWN stadium, Precourt.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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