I’m writing to urge you to adopt rules federally banning states, cities, and other municipalities from paying for sports arenas for professional teams. Or better, prohibit teams in leagues with over some amount of assets to play in municipally built stadiums. Model it after Seattle’s initiative, so municipalities have to be able to make money off the deal or no deal.
With the NBA telling the Kings they can’t relocate, part of the underlying reasoning they’re staying in a smaller media market with a worse offer is that town is willing to shill out an obscene amount of money to build an arena. The amount that cities are willing to bilk their taxpayers is a large part of the reason the Kings aren’t coming to Seattle. So, while it would probably be too late to get the Sonics back this time, this would better lay the groundwork for future.
It would also be fundamentally more decent. After all, these sort of deals are out of control, and most cities with sports teams are on the bad end of these types of deals, having to take much of the risk with any financial gain going to the teams. The teams rely on taxpayers to make themselves a profit.
It’s the sort of problem that, really, can only be solved at the national level. After all, as long as different cities in different states are competing for these things, the threat of leaving is going to be too great. These leagues that span the country are the sort of interstate commerce that Congress should be regulating. I don’t know if it could get through the dysfunctional Congress, but it’s worth a try.
And would this be punishment for the NBA for leaving in the way that it did, and then voting not to let us get another team? And to a lesser extent to MLB and the NFL for foisting bad stadium deals on is in the first place? Sure. But it’s still a better idea than having municipalities fight over teams with taxpayer stadiums.
Hugs and kisses