Nemo Me Impune Lacessit

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Modern-Day Bread and Circuses

Filed under: Politics, Principles, Sports / Recreation — Tags: , , , , , , — mikewb1971 @ 12:17 AM (00:17)

Yesterday, I saw that Alex Horschack posted the long-overdue article The Problems With Conventional Sports Culture. My comment in response was simple —

The Romans had the same sorts of problems with their gladitorial games and chariot races. Professional spectator sports will be (at least a part of) the death of us all.

That being said, I’m really surprised to see a posting like this on this site. Most of the “mens’ interest” magazines (Maxim, FHM, Stuff) devote space to sports coverage, and the editorial tone in those mags seems to make it seem almost mandatory for guys to watch that garbage, like you don’t have balls if you don’t watch it.

One comment was supportive of the modern Circus, though — see it here.

Usually, the team owner will whine to the city council that “If you don’t build us a new stadium, we’ll leave.” I say let them go.

Here in Albuquerque, it took the whole national economy taking a dump with the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac “crisis” before our idiot mayor and the nine morons on the City Council backed off on their plans for spending 400,000,000 on the Vampire Arena in the Downtown area. Parking in that part of town is scarce enough already, and the only site available is occupied by a church. The city spent ∅700,000 on a “study” to determine the “feasibility” of building the arena. That “study” was paid for by the contractor with the inside track on building said arena.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, support for “our” “community” sports teams is pretty sparse — who is the team that will be the “anchor attraction” for this elephante blanco ?

  • The Scorpions (CHL hockey team) weren’t filling up Tingley Coloseum (sp?) when they were playing there — Tingley seats 15,000 people, and the most that the Scorpions ever pulled in was 10,000.
  • The New Mexico Slam (basketball) was playing at the white-elephant Convention Center (also in the Downtown area!) and went out of business
  • The New Mexico Thunder (an NBA farm team) was playing at Tingley, pulling in 600 people per game, then went out of business.

And what about those (such as myself) with NO interest in “professional sports?” Is City Council going to give us a tax exemption because we’re not sports fans? No, they won’t. So we get to pay for this white elephant, but reap none of the “benefits.”

How many jobs will the Vampire Arena (or any other tax-funded arena) generate? The construction jobs needed to put the place up are temporary — once construction is completed, those people are laid off if the contractor can’t find them something else to do. After that, there’s the vendors charging way too much for the food and drink — that’s why they don’t let you bring your own in — so you have little choice but spend too much on refreshments.

In the meantime, the arena will be competing with other (smaller) restaurants and bars for business. Those restaurants and bars might end up paying higher property taxes to help finance the costs of the arena. Those restaurants and bars might have to raise their prices to account for higher sales and “gross receipts” taxes to help finance the costs of the arena.

Nothing beats paying for your own destruction, hunh?


Copyright © 2008 Mike Blessing. All rights reserved.
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