It’s always special when somebody in the sports industry slips and says what they really think about the economics of stadiums. Via Miami Herald columnist Glenn Garvin (who is totally not only getting his name dropped because in the same article he called this site “informative if horrifying”), here’s what Miami Dolphins CEO Mike Dees said on Sunday when asked if his team’s $200 million public subsidy request for renovations to its privately owned stadium isn’t just “welfare for billionaires”:
“Just because somebody is wealthy enough doesn’t mean he should invest money in a way that is unwise,” Dees declared.
As Garvin goes on to note: “He could hardly have been more straightforward: Unwise investments are strictly for the taxpaying saps. NFL and Major League Baseball owners certainly didn’t get to be billionaires by risking their own money on outlandishly expensive boondoggles. They use ours instead.”
We’ve heard this before in other cities — we can’t spend our own money on it, it’d be a huge money-loser — but somehow this seldom seems to translate into a realization that if a stadium (or a stadium renovation) can’t bring in enough new revenues to pay off its own costs, then somebody is inevitably going to end up losing money on the thing. But then, people seem to have trouble with this concept in general.