Big contracts getting signed. Free agents wrangling with owners. Preseason games just over the horizon. Pro football, the most popular of all of America’s homegrown religious faiths, is revving up again. Last weekend, Brit immigrant John Oliver devoted a long segment of Last Week Tonight to the ways the owners of professional sports teams finagle sweetheart stadium deals from their host cities, or rather, their host taxpayers. How did we go from cement and iron edifices barely beyond the stadia “enjoyed” by Romans to, as Oliver observed, stadia that “look like they were designed by a coked-up Willie Wonka”?
In his recent UIP book NFL Football, Richard C. Crepeau delves into how a pro football franchise can transform an ordinary municipality into a “Major League City.” Anyone who has been to both Portland (no NFL franchise) and Buffalo (NFL franchise) might question this myth, as well as the oft-told tale that pro sports brings with it a boom in tax revenue.
But, as Crepeau shows, these fables carry weight in the real world. Furthermore, Continue reading