Pay to Play

Props to Villaraigosa for stuffing the NFL's demand for public stadium financing back in the face of the owners making it. LA is the second largest media market in the country, we've got a population that could pack more stadiums than public financing could possibly build, we're a damn good place for a football team and the only reason we don't have one is that owners elsewhere have been spoiled by sweetheart deals from city councils and local pols and refuse to bless the City of Angels unless we give them the same payoffs.

Well, fuck 'em.

The economic arguments for public financing of stadiums are, on their own merits, wrong. Reason's demolished them a couple times (here, and, particularly, here) but that shouldn't even be necessary. The fact of it is, sports teams make money for sport team owners, not cities. And when they stop doing that, owners move them. Sports teams are not a publicly owned resource committed to the good of the city, and the city should not pretend as if they are.

If the NFL wants to create a Packers' situation where a couple hundred thousand people can be part of the ownership and the team can never, ever leave the city, fine, maybe then they could make a case for public citizens to help pay for a publicly-owned franchise. But this? It's a private corporation looking at a profitable opportunity and deciding they won't enter unless they can make taxpayers pay the upfront costs.

LA remembers the Rams. Franchise loyalty is seen cynically over here, as well it should be. And if franchise want the freedom to leave, they can exercise that same freedom when they enter. The NFL needs LA much more than LA needs the NFL.