Obnoxious Droppings

A Former Sgt in the US Marines, US Army and Australian Federal Police - With an Attitude Problem - Looking at the Shits & Giggles of life from a Quasi-Conservative Point of View * * * WARNING! STRONG LANGUAGE FOLLOWS! * * *

21 February, 2005

Extortion – A Cautionary Tale


So the NHL cancelled their season, after having already missed over half of it along with the All-Star game. For most of us, this is no big deal – we’ll get by.

But what if you live in one of the cities which is home to a professional sporting team? How many of you have lived through the team owners saying, “Give us what we want or we’ll move the team elsewhere”? I know it happened in Chicago when I was there and many other towns have gone through the same thing.

Team owners are really good at using extortion to get what they want – whether it’s a new stadium, parking concessions or something else. How many of them are willing to guarantee their cities that the expected revenue from that team will be met? That’s a laugh, isn’t it?

And it’s not just sports, although most of the time they are the biggest extortionists. I’m living down here in North Carolina (and loving it!) and we just got chosen for the new Dell Computers plant. Of course, it’s going to cost the area over 30 million dollars in tax relief and ‘incentives’ to draw them here.

What guarantees are there that the number of new jobs will be what was promised? Or anything else on the side of the corporation that was just sweet-talked into moving here? I’d be willing to take a guess – zip, zilch, nada.

Any city going through this kind of extortion – be it for new business or a sports franchise (no difference, really) – had best be very circumspect. Look at the revenue being generated by the NHL this season before you cave in to the Wirtz or Steinbrenner clans next time.

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