Zombie Teams and Zombie Owners

This chapter talks about how owners of teams are passing the costs of owning sports teams (in this case Los Angeles Dodgers in MLB) to the average fan. After buying teams for millions of dollars owners are using public funding and passing the costs off to already cash strapped civilians. The real owners of the teams aren’t the buyers instead they are the people of the city (Los Angeles). In this case Magic Johnson bought the Los Angeles Dodgers for 2 billion dollars however if you look at the details he is not the majority owner instead it is the Guggenheim partners. This chapter argues that owners are sitting on top of a financial sports bubble after fans have grown tired of owners feeding of public subsidies, sweetheart cable deals, and luxury box seats at the expense of the typical fan. It argues that sport use to bring community and family together but now all we see when we look at the stadium is a billion dollar leviathan that the average fan cant afford to enter into. The economic benefits of these public subsidised stadiums are now non existent only offering underpaid service jobs. Is it time to reconsider public funding in sport? And what are the repercussions of doing so? Player salaries would be a first to be lowered which would, and has, resulted in lockouts.

The average civilian should not have to pay for public subsidies to build new stadiums when most people won’t even be able to afford to walk in. Billionaire owners threaten cities to move if they don’t hand over money which has worked because cities do want teams since sport is popular and offers some benefits. Heading into the future it will be interesting to see how future stadiums are funded and if public money continues to be a major part. The economic insecurity of today’s society affects everyone from fans, athletes, and owners. The richest clearly being owners, to athletes, to fans. I believe that eventually public money will be weaved out of the stadium building process because this money can be used in more substantial areas such as health care or education while the owners of sport teams can find other ways of getting money instead of using public money. An alternative method would be using the Green Bay Packers method of being publically owned by die hard fans and creating a community connection. I believe that this alternative is the best way for teams to be owned and operated because it does not take money from the average civilian. Instead it connects all fans of the team while relying on the fans to help run the team. This is a most economically friendly and smartest way to run a team in my opinion and will possibly be the future of other sports franchises.

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5 Responses to Zombie Teams and Zombie Owners

  1. tybrewer says:

    Public funding for multi-billion dollar facilities has for a long-time been a relevant issue. I agree that owners are not really the ones footing the bill. While fans are not happy about increased taxes to subsidize the stadium they do not know the half of it. All of the tax breaks given to teams in order to keep them around are hidden and rarely of public knowledge. I believe it will take a public reveal of the true figures before fans realize how much money they are giving to owners, and take a stand against public subsidy.

  2. kl10jb says:

    The Green Bay Packers have taken a great approach to publicly funding a stadium. If funds are inevitably going to come from fans, then the host team’s true fans who live and breathe the sport should contribute to the facility. This way other taxpayers’ hard earned dollars who might not be interested in supporting the local team can go towards important relevant issues concerning the city such as: infrastructure, construction, and community programs. I believe that the most ethical way to build a stadium should be from the owners/sponsors themselves because they are the only ones who can truly afford it.

  3. pw10wo says:

    Unfortunately, stadiums funded by the public will continue to take place as long as the owners have valuable markets available to move the team to. If you look at the four major professional leagues in North America, they all have sustainable markets available. Those of us who are in Sport Economics learned that leagues will strategically leave such markets available to increase the threat of relocation. For example, one can look at the NFL and the city of Los Angeles. If a team looking to upgrade their facilities wants to use public funding, they can simply threaten the fans with the possibility of relocating to L.A.

  4. jl09iv says:

    I agree that going to sporting events is more of a business opportunity for fans as opposed to watching the sporting event itself. Businessman use tickets as a “perk” to do business at the stadium and are willing to pay top dollar as professional sports is a prime event. The Toronto Maple Leafs are a perfect example of billion dollar corporations driving up ticket prices for the average fan. Owners are licking their chops and no one is going to stop them. However with this money they are receiving they are also giving back and trying break through technologies for the fans (HD TV,globalization, more in depth coverage.) Until ticket prices sky rocket to a point where no one will purchase them, professional sports will continue to raise ticket prices.

  5. dc10vh says:

    As a fan it’s obviously tough to see ticket prices continue to rise, but I agree with the comment above. As long as there is a demand for tickets, the prices will continue to rise and the owners will see how far they can go with it. It’s unfortunate to see teams such as the Leafs play their home games in front of what seems like mostly businessmen and not their “true” fans, but it is the reality of sports being a business.

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