John Oliver Thinks Public Money for Sports Stadiums Sucks Too


After taking on corruption and scandal at soccer's main governing body, FIFA, HBO's John Oliver has a new target for ridicule—sports stadiums. 

Oliver highlighted the ridiculous amount of public money being paid by cities to billionaire sports owners to build new stadiums on Sunday's "Last Week Tonight"—noting that between 2000 and 2010, cities have paid over $12 billion for 51 new sports facilities. 

Part of the reason stadiums are so expensive to build these days is due in part to the insane luxury features owners are adding. As Oliver remarks, stadium designs have gotten so opulent that they "look like they were designed by a coked-up Willy Wonka." 

And Oliver isn't being facetious. Just look at the Miami Marlins new $639 million baseball stadium which boasts—among other amenities—an aquarium behind home plate. 

As I've reported here earlier, cities rarely see the economic benefits and job growth promised by sports stadium proposals. So why do local governments continue to throw money at these projects? Reason recently sat down with Chapman University professor Joel Kotkin to dispel some of the popular myths of sports stadium projects and why cities continue to be suckers for them. You can watch the interview below which runs about five minutes. 

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  1. Mr. Oliver clearly doesn’t understand the ‘panem et circenses’ part of statist populism. You’ve got to build the damn things to distract the plebs from the problems the government isn’t fixing/makes worse.

  2. I want to like John Oliver. But all the Proggie knob-slobbering makes he want to hate him on general principle.

    1. I’m in the same boat.

  3. I was just thinking this morning:

    What does John Oliver think about this?

    1. What does he think about something truly outrageous, such as a poorly executed conference call?

    2. I think you mean, “How will John Oliver DESTROY this?”

  4. In contrast, the Verizon Center was built with private money and has been a huge boost to the economy of the surrounding neighborhood. Though it’s not really all that China Town-y now.

    Though I think some of this was dumb luck in that there was a semi-depressed neighborhood, close to people’s workplaces, and sitting right on top of an existing Metro station.

  5. I don’t see the general public, in downstate Illinois, attending too many stadium games. Their portion, of the “investment” is, truly, theft by the government. That same government is throwing a bone to the game go-ers! Even if Verizon built a stadium, it still came from the profits of questionable contract deals for cell phones they convinced parents to buy for their spoiled kids!? And, likely, the government gave a lot of concessions to the venues.

  6. Pro sports profits billions a year. Make them pay for their own damn stadia!

    1. If the taxpayers are going to be on the hook for building these stadia. . . they should get free/cheapo tickets to each and every event – because they are, by definition, part owners of said stadia.

      As it is. . . the people who pay the most for building these Temples of Mammon can’t afford tickets.

  7. He’s absolutely right about how ridiculous this stuff is.

    Now, let’s hear this piece of shit say the same stuff about the exact caliber of fag in the marxists camp that performs this very larceny on a daily basis.

    For example, were you to plug wind mills in for the word sports and solyndra in for the word team owners, the story would read just the same.

    He’s sort of funny when bashing a rich white guy but would never go there for the same cronyist if the person was black, female, tranny, che guevara, or other victim of the week.

    one thing is for sure, he would never praise an honest capitalist.

  8. why do local governments continue to throw money to build so many sports stadiums?we know that local people rarely get benefits from new sports facilities.

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