Show-Me State Suckers Shell Out Super-Subsidies For NFL Rams

There are no good economic arguments and even fewer cultural ones to support handouts to billionaire team owners.


St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Let's say you want to build a new house for yourself. Otherwise, you tell your neighbors and your city council, you'll leave town, taking your money, tax payments, jobs, and prestige elsewhere.

What are the odds that legislators will cover at least 40 percent of your new house's costs?

And maybe throw another 15 percent your way too on naming rights to your deluxe manor and also let you collect all revenue from nights when you rent out the house to strangers for parties or other accomodations?

The odds are pretty low in most cities in America.

But if you own the NFL's Rams (who started out in Cleveland before heading to Los Angeles and then to St. Louis), you're in luck. Despite generally sucking—the Rams won two NFL titles back in the old days and just one Super Bowl, in 1999—St. Louis and the entire state of Missouri is so desperate to keep the team that they are ponying up at least 40 percent of the $1 billion-plus cost of a new stadium. 

That price tag keeps climbing, of course, so who knows exactly where it will end up. Especially since the NFL is squeezing cities to firm up their corporate welfare packages by the end of the year and  the Rams' owner is looking to talk with Los Angeles builders if the league would let him move back west. Los Angeles, needless to say, has a bunch of bazillionaires who are just dying to spend taxpayer dollars on bringing another team to Southern California.

Lost in all these tense negotiations and greenmail schemes is a variety of basic truths: having professional sports teams lowers an area's per capita income; the stadiums and infrastructure never pay for themselves; cities are far smarter to focus on roads, police, school, and education if they want to increase quality of life.

Hat tip: Mark Sletten

Before St. Louis and Missouri taxpayers go along with this shim-sham, they ought to a few minutes to learn "Why No Smart City Would Want the NFL":

For more details, go here.

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  1. I read that as Show-Me State suckers Shell out of subsidies.

    Maybe some kind of backwards Corporate Welfare.

    1. Free gas!?

      /St Louis resident

      1. From Obama’s stash!

        /Detroit resident

  2. Gillespie could have had total title alliteration domination if only he had used “stadium” instead of “NFL Rams” there.

  3. “The NFL is good at fleecing taxpayers,” says ESPN columnist Gregg Easterbrook

    Amusing, given that I just read yesterday that ESPN sucks up $36 a month from the average cable subscriber.

    Forget the college or housing bubbles – when is the sport bubble going to burst?

    1. Hopefully the Bowl Bubble will bust soon at least.

      1. Who you got in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl?

        1. Hitler?

    2. The ESPN bubble is bursting. They fired 350 people lady month. Looking to cut another 3,500 in 2016. Revenue from cable/dish subscriptions are way down yoy, and decreasing at an accelerating rate.

      Hahaha! Fuck ’em. They fought to stick the consumer with a mediocre product, at premium prices. Their business model was stuck in 1992 media industry. By 2000, and the rise of Directtv, it was apparent that consumers wanted a la carte programming. Espn refused to explore that possibility, and instead created more shitty channels and raised subscription rates. They fucked up. And now they are in trouble.

      1. Not to mention their on air personalities are incredibly obnoxious.

        1. And their political correctness posturing, their ever deepening fellating of the US military is disgusting and unwatchable. Also, if a sporting event does not occur in Boston, New York City, Philly, DC, or Miami, it may as well not have happened. Sometimes when the Steelers are a good team, they will pretend to care about Pittsburgh.

          I freakin hate Espn.

          1. LA. You forgot LA. They’ve essentially doubled as the Lakers Network for the past 16 years.

            1. True. Even when my Lakers are shitty, Espn can’t help but show the games.

              Like next week, Monday Night Football is Giants vs Dolphins. Neither team is good, neither will make the playoffs, let alone finish above .500. But that is the game Espn is going to hitch their wagon to. Real smart.

              1. Like next week, Monday Night Football is Giants vs Dolphins.

                Not to defend ESPN, but a lot of the pre-season hype (when the schedule is set) was that Miami was supposed to be a team on the rise (Tannehil was allegedly a good, possibly great young QB, they’d just signed Suh from Detroit, etc.) and the Giants were supposed to be competing with Dallas (snicker) for the NFC East.

                Plus there would be a good chance that we’d see Suh kick Eli Manning in the nuts on primetime TV, or “accidentally” step on someone.

                1. The Giants (5-7) ARE competing with Dallas (4-8) for the NFC East.

              2. ESPN doesn’t actually get to pick the games they get from the NFL. So, it’s the NFL making those stupid decisions.

          2. Plus, Rod Gilmore is their best college football analyst, and I could listen to hin talk cfb for three hours every Saturday morning. Instead, we get a bunch of clowns playing grab-ass, with shitty analysis, human interest stories (cancer kid), and the buffoonery of Lee Corso. Rod Gilmore, a smart guy with good insight into cfb, including West Coast schools (!), is treated like a second class citizen.

            1. I think I recall seeing the greatest RB of all time doing pre-game on ESPN a while back, but I haven’t seen him in a while. I want him on my teevee!

              1. They had Herschel Walker on?

          3. They stopped caring about Miami once LeBron left.

            They don’t really care about Philly either. It’s Boston, NYC, Chicago, LA.

            1. I don’t care about men playing with their balls and don’t want to pay them a penny.

          4. This, ESPN radio used to be the only thing I listened to, now that they have given Dan LeBatard and Bomonte Jones their own shows I just can’t listen to it any more because those guys are so focused on race the make Stephen A Smith look like a Klansman.

            1. I thought Dan LeBatard’s (what does that translate to?) show was focused on himself.

      2. They’re also laboring in an environment of increased competition. Fox, CBS, and NBC all run nationwide ESPN facsimiles, and each local market has at least one of their own as well (NY has 3, for instance: SNY, YES, and MSG). There’s also the internet, and I can’t imagine that ESPN did themselves any favors in that arena when they put through their redesign.

        ESPN is essentially the CNN of sports; eventually someone will put together a Fox News that exploits all of their vulnerabilities and steals their market share. But it won’t happen to such a degree unless that rival manages the same depth and breadth of live sports options, which is why ESPN always comes so hard when the broadcast rights to those are up for sale.

        1. NBC is working their asses off to beat ESPN. They just need to get their hands on a broader college sports portfolio, and they’ll start being competitive.

      3. I stopped watching when they stopped covering hockey.

        1. I turn the channel when they cover hockey.

    3. Forget the college or housing bubbles – when is the sport bubble going to burst?

      As soon as someone comes up with some other way to reliably deliver captive eyeballs in prime demographics to advertisers.

      1. It’s like smoking – government knows we are hooked so it’s the perfect source of money.

      2. Porn would do it.

  4. Ashamed to admit I voted for a tax increase to renovate a local sports team’s stadium about a decade ago. Fear held sway and I voted against my principles. We’re called fanatics for a reason I suppose.

  5. I’m relieved that it seems San Diego is out of time and out of the running. For the last 10 years I think it’s been obvious that voters here wouldn’t stand for a huge giveaway. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Too bad that if we had to be fleeced for a stadium, it was for the Padres.

    1. You think LA wants your Chargers? It’s bad enough we get all the games on local TV when other cities get to watch good teams.

  6. You know who else promoted sports as a way to glorify the state….

    1. Dwight D. Eisenhower?

    2. The Aztec Chieftain?

    3. Arnold Schwarzenegger?

  7. In fairness to the good citizens of Missouri, if the Rams left all they’d have left for fun in that state is the snoozefest that is baseball season and the lively entertainment of Branson. Let that sink in before you criticize them too much.

    1. We still have the Chiefs. Sure, they lost 5 out of 6 to start the season, but they’ve won the last 6 in a row without their star RB!

  8. Fun fact: St. Louis is still paying for its last stadium we build for the Rams. Of course this is all to important to let people vote for it. It is out of our hands.

  9. I see the fundamental argument stated backwards all the time: We need an NFL franchise if our city is going to be a great place to live! The truth is that you make your city a great place to live, which in turn creates a market that the NFL wants a piece of.

    It’s the most obnoxious lie since “Democrats care deeply about black communities.”

  10. I dunno, when the Pats wanted a new downtown stadium Boston told them to go pound sand and the State said no to virtually all public funding and it is working out pretty well for us

  11. The entire article is based on a false premise that the people of St. Louis or Missouri are getting a choice in the matter. The politicians (the people who spend everyone else’s money) are doing everything they can to make sure those people don’t get a vote about what happens with their money. This is being decided by pols, not people.

  12. Dear NFL, Please stop taking LA for granted, and stop using it as a scare tactic to get all these podunk towns to buy stadiums for you. People hear paid 2 billion bucks for the Dodgers and the Clippers, just think what they would pay for an NFL expansion team or two.

    1. What was it that P.T.Barnum said?

  13. To bad, isn’t it, that the populace are never really asked for their opinion, nor do they seem to exercise much control over decisions involved..

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