OT: John Oliver Goes in on Owners Finessing Cities for Stadium Cash

Submitted by BornSinner on July 13th, 2015 at 2:16 PM

Oliver outdid himself this time on good ole Murica. 

Note the segment with the girl chiding the city about the fucking Coyotes at the 14 minute mark... 

Oh god... poor girl... Yikes... 

Detroit also makes a guest appearance. 



July 13th, 2015 at 3:17 PM ^

get their palms greased making the deals. But something that voters left, right, and center can agree is costly and corrupt. Hardly THE biggest scandal in American life, but among them, absolutely. People feel allegiance to home teams, and pressure to back the deals. But any thinking person who digs into this subject can quickly ascertain how troubled they tend to be.

Ronnie Kaye

July 13th, 2015 at 2:27 PM ^

Needed to be said. Ilitch ain't the saint many people in Detroit want to believe he is. 

Some of these stadium stories are just disgusting. The Tampa Bay Bucs' stadium was 100% built on public money. It should double as a freaking park yet Malcolm Glazer can open and close the doors as he pleases.


July 13th, 2015 at 3:01 PM ^

I don't fault the owners for using loopholes to their advantage. Any smart businessman would do the same. Maybe if our lawmakers were held accountable, meaningful change could be made to the system that allows it to happen. 

President Obama made a proposal to end taxpayer-subsidized stadiums, but Neil DeMause wrote a great column (it's a great read) explaing why it won’t be close to enough to end stadium subsidies entirely.


July 13th, 2015 at 2:45 PM ^

Gregg Easterbrook digs into this in more detail in his book King of Sport. I love sports, but it's absurd to allow owners to hold cities hostage. Another poster made a good point about the collesium the other day in the new stadiums thread.

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July 13th, 2015 at 3:10 PM ^

God forbid we have people who like America and want to see it do better. I bet you're a sweep the dirt under the rug at all costs type of guy.

I wonder how many natural Americans would pass the citizenship test that immigrants have to take. (It's not hard, but I would assume a good amount wouldn't)


July 13th, 2015 at 4:03 PM ^

could be best measured by taking a test.

Oh, wait, it can't.

Have you served America, BornSinner? Have you given anything back to the country  other than your opinion of how it ought to be ran?

There's something to be said for questioning the direction or decisions of the political leaders of a community. That's a good and necessary element of any democracy. But John Oliver, like Stewart and Colbert, talks way above his level of knowledge about subjects he has only the least  bit familiarity with. For example, in his segment on the NCAA he never considers the wide discrepancy in monies earned between Power 5 teams and the rest of FBS. To truly analyze a problem you have to look at the entire picture, not just part of it.

In this case I happen to agree. I enjoyed the part where he calls out Illitch because I think Illitch is an unscrupulous sack of shit. 


July 13th, 2015 at 4:18 PM ^

That's my point. You can't measure it. Hence the example. The assumption that BC you are born outside of the country, you can't criticize it, is fucking stupid.

Immigrants are required to have an understanding of basic elements of the country prior to entering, which natural ones don't. So this xenophobic defense of America from perceived foreign people is stupid when they may know just as much if not more about the country than you.

We aren't talking about Oliver and Stewart talking classic govt politics. Were talking about building stadiums for stupid amount of public cash that involves some politicking.

On this topic they are fairly informed vs say a topic about the federal reserve.

Now take your L.


July 13th, 2015 at 3:16 PM ^

Eh, I don't see it in that view, but he is bordering on becoming "that whiny twerp at city hall meetings who complains about everything in abstract, though astute ways, without offering any real alternatives, while bringing a cheering crowd of 101-level Econ and PoliSci majors from local colleges who demand $15 minimum wages and 4 day work weeks and want to bring their dogs to work too, because everyone loves dogs so why not??"-type of guy.

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July 13th, 2015 at 2:49 PM ^

I don't see why this is the owner's fault. So because they bought something very valuable, so valuable that cities are willing to build them a stadium, the owner is in the fault? Are we at a point in society where rich people are expected to turn down free things because they're rich?


July 13th, 2015 at 3:25 PM ^

My only point was that teams aren't having $300 million gifts dumped on their doorsteps without twisting some arms.

Where I would and do take exception is when business and business leaders cry about keeping government out of their way but then milk federal, state, and local government for as much as they can get.  I don't know enough about any given pro football owner to say whether he is or isn't guilty of that. 


July 13th, 2015 at 3:58 PM ^

and hope you don't mind me piggybacking off your comment but I would add this...

what makes it look so bad in Detroit is as Oliver pointed out....this gets voted and approved on and then the City of Detroit files for bankruptcy. That's not a good look. But as he mentioned...its not a reason to hate on the owners...but it does leave a sour taste and stinks. And yes....to decry government regulation and is restricting and the tax code is so horrible business have to headquarter overseas but then turn around and ask for the tax incentives and cry poverty is shady.....


July 13th, 2015 at 3:00 PM ^

I think it has more to do with the whole "build me a stadium or I'm moving the team that's been here for 60 years to X" line.  

If it really was a "Hey Guys, I want to build a new stadium.  Can you help me out here with some tax breaks/funding etc.?" and everything was approved ala a referendum than things could be seen a little more on the up and up.  


July 13th, 2015 at 3:12 PM ^

But what if that isn't a "line?" In many instances, there is a city they could take their business where it would be more profitable. So in many cases this "line" is really "give me some money to entice me to do something against my business's best financial interest."


July 13th, 2015 at 3:13 PM ^

Free market. If the Miami Marlins demanded a stadium, and miami passed, another city would have to take them up on it. If no other economically viable city built them a stadium, they would stay. So why don't governments smarten up and resist the stadium building bonanza? Call their bluff. And if they leave, so be it. That is then only a demonstration that the city valued other things more than bowing to a certain franchise. No big deal.

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July 13th, 2015 at 4:21 PM ^

A majority of the investment is being made by private investors, and the project represents one of the largest private investments for an Arena project in North America. The public consideration for the Arena plan is “self-financing,” as the debt service on the City and County’s $200 million contribution will be funded by tax collections that would not exist if the Arena were not built, and NBA and NHL teams were not returned to the market. Any shortfalls are paid and guaranteed by the private investors. Unprecedented safeguards have been put in place to protect the City’s contribution and insure that taxpayer dollars are not at risk, and that even under the direst circumstances the City and County will be repaid in full.


Also, the MOU requires the purchase of an NBA team before they can start building the arena.


July 13th, 2015 at 3:10 PM ^

Then citizens should demonstrate their displeasure at the ballot box. They way local governments have been quietly abusing their constituents, by permitting the building of new stadiums via long-term payments and thus avoiding immediate pains, is underhanded. But that does not excuse local citizens from their duty to see that the most recent stadiums are on repayment plans that extend longer than the life of the stadium. I believe the new Marlins Park + Dolphins upgrade aren't even expected to be paid off until roughly 2035-40. They'll be building a new stadium by then. The local governments are getting the benefits of "we built a new stadium without costing taxpayers a thing!" While also passing the buck onto future governments and citizens in years to come. Why are the owners to blame? Because "they are rich!"? Maybe they are just more Wiley and wise regarding what they can get out of idiotic governments and citizens who don't look more than a month into the future.

They asked, and they received. Blame the giver not the asker.

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July 13th, 2015 at 3:24 PM ^

Where in my comment did I blame the owners?  Let me help you out...I didn't.

But since you seem so adamant about defending them, I'll bite.

To think that they are not at least partially to blame for these bad public deals is either blind or disingenuous.  "They asked, and they received".  Really?  If I hold a gun to your head and kindly ask you to give me your wallet, should you be blamed when you do.  Please.


July 13th, 2015 at 3:53 PM ^

Everytime I go to the ballot bax to voice my displeasure I realize my choices are candidate A who is a self interested person whose campaign was mostly funded by an economically elite sliver of society (for whom he/she will work tirelessly to pay back in the next 4-6 years via action), surrounded by armies of lobbyists who also are working tirelessly for said economically elite (and corp America)....  and worked together with the "other side" to redistrict the state into a bunch of non competitive districts....and has a donkey next to his/her name....


candidate B who is a self interested person whose campaign was mostly funded by an economically elite sliver of society (for whom he/she will work tirelessly to pay back in the next 4-6 years via action), surrounded by armies of lobbyists who also are working tirelessly for said economically elite (and corp America)..... and worked together with the "other side" to redistrict the state into a bunch of non competitive districts....and has an elephant next to his/her name....


So please let me know how to voice my displeasure other than wasting my vote on candidates C thru H who get their combined 8% of the vote.  I'll hang up and listen.


July 13th, 2015 at 4:25 PM ^

There is also the demagogues who get themselves elected by demonizing corporations, socialists, Mexicans, Muslims, Christians, gays, whites, blacks, women,etc

Populism is a potent factor in any democracy and often quite damaging. For some reason we  focus solely on the damaging effects of   excessive corporate influence whilst ignoring the dangers of Populism. I think that is a grave mistake.