Affirmations of an Armchair Quarterback: public money for stadiums not fair to fans

Mike Davies:  Sports Editor  Ω

I’ll say it again—I’m a huge fan of sports.

But sports need to fix some things. Financial things. Things that sport are screwing up for no reason. Well—greed, I guess.

If I’m a billionaire and I buy a sports franchise, I should provide that sports franchise with a place to play. Period.

If I’m no billionaire but I’m willing to pay a hundred bucks to go watch some guys run into each other on a field while an oblong leather ball squirts around, I should also assume that part of that money is for the business. It provides me with the privilege of sitting on something chair-shaped and the opportunity to spend even more money on a small dish of stale, lukewarm nachos.

If I’m a billionaire and I’ve bought a sports franchise, “I only made a couple million dollars last year,” should not be a valid excuse to get the government—via the taxpayer—to help me build a new stadium for my team to play in. Or to renovate the one they already play in.

Even losing money doesn’t entitle you to government money—or it shouldn’t. If a restaurant in downtown Kamloops loses money, it won’t go to the government and say, “Uh, sorry to bother you, but we screwed up the whole ‘business’ aspect of our business, so can we have some money from the general public?”

Why is it that people who actually need financial help can’t get it, but people with loads of money seem to think that they should? There are people all over the country who can’t afford to eat—and many of them have trouble getting a welfare cheque.

Okay, I’m fuming mad now—I’ll be back in a few minutes when I calm down.

The CFL is not a league of excessive wealth, but it seems to me that the B.C. government supplying over $400 million to the renovation of a stadium seems a bit ridiculous when the owner of the primary residents of that stadium—the B.C. Lions—also owns the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts. No matter how hard I searched, I couldn’t find either his net worth or annual income—but I bet it’s a whole lot.

His name is David Braley, by the way, and he’s also a Canadian senator. There couldn’t possibly be any conflicting interests there.

Daryl Katz, the owner of the Edmonton Oilers, is the owner of The Katz Group, Canada’s leading drugstore operators as well as the only mail-order pharmacy business in the country.

He is the seventeenth richest person in Canada with a net worth of $2.43 Billion according to Canadian Business Magazine. His home in Edmonton is worth an estimated $20 million and he has two others—one of which is reportedly a near carbon copy of the one in Edmonton.

Forbes has the Oilers at number 20 on the NHL’s most valuable teams list, and states that Daryl Katz has said he is willing to invest $100 million in a new building and another $100 million toward development of the surrounding area. “Thus it appears he is looking for taxpayers to kick in about $200 million,” for a new building for the team.

Take out a loan, Katz! You too, Braley! Do what every businessperson does when they need to invest in their company. If I don’t want to pitch in on your enterprise, I shouldn’t have to.

Like I said—if I pay for a ticket, that’s me wanting to support you in your business venture.

But don’t expect me to do it through my taxes.


  1. Ted Sep. 18, 2011
    • editorofomega Sep. 18, 2011