Monday, November 11, 2013

The Braves are the latest sports franchise to defraud the public

There is nothing more despicable and anti-capitalistic than corporate welfare, and there is no corporate welfare worse than professional sports teams taking (if they weren't billionaires it would be called extorting) hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers to line their pockets. 

Since Liberty Media bought the Braves 6 years ago for $400 million, their investment is worth $229 million more than what they paid.  The stock price of the company went up 37% last year.  Investors have profited handsomely as the team has cut payrolls and increased revenue by squeezing more money out of paying customers.

So naturally when the team wants $670 million for a new stadium they turn to taxpayers to foot the bill for $450 million (2/3) of the cost.  What do taxpayers get from the deal? A handful of $6/hr jobs for 3 hours a night, 81 days a year for peanut and beer vendors.  Of course the county doesn't have a prayer of getting a fraction of that money back.  Meanwhile stockholders can look forward to more 37%/year returns. 

So in the spirit of American capitalism, they become the latest team to socialize the costs of their hugely profitable business while privatizing the returns.  And in 10 years Cobb County will surely end up like Glendale, Arizona who paid hundreds of millions to build a stadium for the Phoenix Coyotes and now have to pay an additional $15 million/yr subsidy (bribe) to the team as a "management fee."  The city of Glendale meanwhile has to layoff teachers, firefighters and policemen and nearly sold its city hall and police station because the city is, not surprisingly, broke.