ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 12: A general view of the Edward Jones Dome prior to the NFL season opener between the Arizona Cardinals and the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on September 12 2010 in St. Louis Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)2
The St. Louis Rams and Minnesota Vikings are both in stadium negotiations. Explain to me why the taxpayers need to foot any of this bill.
Sorry, but I'm confused. I know I was educated in public school in Kentucky, but I've still tried very hard to understand the stadium situations that are unfolding around the St. Louis Rams and the Minnesota Vikings.
The Rams presented, last week, a counter-proposal to the month-old CVC plan to upgrade the Edward Jones Dome. Now, since each side has been though the revision portion once, the two sides have until June 15th to come to an agreement. If one isn't reached, then arbitration is scheduled. Unlike baseball, though, the arbitration isn't binding and the Rams can vacate their lease after the 2014 season.
Further north, the Vikings are in the midst of trying to push legislation through the Minnesota congress. The house of representatives have approved the plan, the senate is revising the plan and the owners of the Vikings are pissed at the plan. Mostly for tacking on another $ 105 million to the price the team will have to put into the nearly $1 billion project.
The Rams seem to be haggling with the CVC over around $60-65 million by most reports, and the Vikings' $105 million. Both are staggering sums of money that all of us here will never get near realizing in our lives.
And both are pretty insignificant in the world of the NFL.
Late in 2011, the NFL renegotiated the TV contracts for the league. When all was said and done, the 32 teams in the league were set to split $3 billion in revenue. Per year. Read that again... three billion dollars per year. That wasn't a typo. That's roughly $94 million per year per team.
Or in other words, with what both of these teams would make off one source (albeit a huge source) of revenue, they can pay for these renovations-slash-new stadiums. Instead, they hold the specter of Los Angeles over the the fans and the governments of Missouri and Minnesota to get the taxpayers to subsidize these revenue-generating machines.
Again, public school in Kentucky, but why do the taxpayers need to be involved in this at all?
I mean, I get it from the team's perspectives. Why the hell not have someone else pay for something they want? If a guy in a Ferrari pulled up next to you on the street and asked you for 10 bucks, you'd laugh and move on. But for some reason, with NFL teams, we entertain the idea that somehow Joe Six Pack should be ponying up for large portions of stadium building costs.
It's truly insane. We hand them the 10 dollar bill. And feel like we've done something good.
This isn't some political statement. Nor is it a indictment of how much a sports team might mean to a city. Rather its a wake up call: stop giving NFL teams money. As in any money. At all. Ever. For anything they want. I promise you they can afford it. Just because somebody else did something a while back doesn't mean they get the same breaks.
It's life. It's not fair. They'll eat.
No, the popular move isn't to sacrifice a team to LA to prove a point. And no, I don't want the Rams to leave St. Louis. But once LA is off the board, the NFL isn't going to be able to leverage that huge TV market against taxpayer dollars elsewhere. So take some solace in the fact that the NFL isn't exactly eager to get the LA deal done, when several other markets could use it to hijack more taxpayer money.
I can't say I exactly trust the government to spend what they'd save not financing the Rams on something productive, but that's not the point.
The point is that the NFL is the most popular sports league in the US. It makes its teams almost $100 million a season before they play a single down. It's time to cut the lifeline. You want a new stadium, pay for it.
We'll show up and drink the $9 beers wherever you want to put it.