Chiraq crony capitalism & professional sports

https://chicago.suntimes.com/sports/mayor-rahm-emanuel-crony-capitalism-parting-shot-rocky-wirtz/amp/

Twenty five years after the Blackhawks played their final game at the old madhouse, they’re at odds with the exiting CHIRAQ mayor Emmanuel over tax breaks and rates. In nothing short of amusing, the mayor is trying to out flank the Blackhawks brass to the right by citing capitalism lol Unsure how raising money through tax increases to build competition is capitalism, but I digress.

It is very true that sports billionaires have abused their clout in certain cities, selfishly subsidizing their business on the backs of the tax payer, but elected officials are the ones that ink and benefit from the sweet heart deals. Local governments can always say no, but they usually don’t, and the old purposes that were served by public private venue partnerships no longer exist. The ‘public’ rarely use the facilities outside of being paying customers to sporting events and pop music shows. The days of public use in the era of billion dollar stadiums have passed. Recently the White Sox were criticized for receiving tax dollars 30 years ago for a stadium not used by anyone but them.

Emmanuel is a lame duck with few allies left in the metro, which is why many, including myself and Blackhawks ownership, find his recent ‘run to the right’ behavior especially hilarious after four years of relentless Trump bashing. Virtue signaling for police and against Smollet, now touting capitalism while bludgeoning the local sports franchises being portrayed as parasites. Say what you may about the Chicago sports owners and franchises, but I’d say they conservatively contribute a few billion in direct and indirect revenue annually, and in a shrinking city with a population hemorrhage, you would think you would want to keep what you have left…not in CHIRAQ, home of bleed’em dry governance.

3 thoughts on “Chiraq crony capitalism & professional sports”

  1. The argument in favor of stadium subsidies isn’t just about use of the stadium, but also the idea that it generates revenue for other businesses (bars and restaurants nearby, apparel shops selling team clothing, etc) and also tax revenue from ticket and concession sales (even if there is a tax-sharing agreement with the venue, half of something is better than all of nothing)

    I haven’t dug into the numbers so I don’t know if they actually do generate a revenue in this way (although I can’t imagine they don’t) or whether its worth the tax breaks they get, but I can certainly see it in the same light as the Amazon deal that NY lost out on. Basically the idea is the cities need the teams more than the team needs any particular city, so the cities are the ones that have to compete to draw in the teams

  2. I don’t have any particular study to reference, but the prevailing financial sentiment is it’s like the Olympics, government never profits from investments into sports infrastructure. I know there’s more public benefit than the physical stadiums themselves, but with sales and liquor taxes already pushed past the max, I’m curious to why Emmanuel chose to swing the capitalist hammer at the sports franchises. A certain story about a golden goose comes to mind…

    1. I always figured the Olympics weren’t profitable because its a one-off event, and any short-lived economic boom is offset by the cost of all the extra traffic, security, temporary structures, and so forth

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