And in the stories I initially missed over the holiday break department, here’s a lovely piece from the New York Times about how ESPN has gotten $260 million in state tax breaks to remain in Connecticut over the past 12 years:
That includes $84.7 million in development tax credits because of a film and digital media program, as well as savings of about $15 million a year since the network successfully lobbied the state for a tax code change in 2000.
For Mr. Malloy and other public officials in Connecticut, the conventional wisdom is that any business with ESPN is good business. After all, ESPN is Connecticut’s most celebrated brand and a homegrown success story, employing more than 4,000 workers in the state.
“After I was elected, this was one of the first companies that I came to,” Mr. Malloy told reporters after the groundbreaking ceremony, standing next to a senior ESPN executive, according to a recording of the event. “I made it clear that ESPN’s needs were not going to be ignored by my administration.”
At $260 million (and counting) for 4,000 jobs, that’s a ratio of $65,000 per job retained, which is far from a record, but still pretty bad. And that’s assuming that ESPN was actually a risk to move — it just built a new $25 million studio in Bristol, after all. And the network also just laid off 100 employees last spring, something it’s allowed to do because the Connecticut tax breaks apparently don’t come with clawbacks. You know, people, it’s not as if no one has spelled out how to do this right or anything.