The National Football League’s business model basically goes like this: We get all the money and the public pays the bills. I actually have a grudging admiration for the amount of gall it took for the NFL to make that its corporate mission statement.Henderson makes lots of good points, except if there's one thing we should never underestimate, it's the lasting power and popularity of pro sports teams - especially compared to politicians.
The basic game plan is to use as many public dollars as possible to build palaces filled with luxury boxes and premium seats priced beyond the range of the average taxpayer. In NFL-speak, this is known as “being competitive.”
The NFL pulled in an estimated $9.5 billion in 2012, including $4 billion from television contracts. That figure will go up to $5 billion annually starting this year through 2021. And as long as we’re being so liberal with “B” words, Forbes estimates the net worth of Dolphins owner Stephen Ross at $3.1 billion.
This is probably a good time to remind everyone how Lightning owner Jeff Vinik paid for the $42 million renovation last year at the Forum. For me, that translates roughly to this: Fix up your own damn stadium, Dolphins.
All of this is a cautionary tale for any plans involving the Tampa Bay Rays and downtown Tampa, or anywhere else in the area. Mind you, I believe Tropicana Field is the worst excuse for a big-league baseball stadium in the country. I also have no idea how to pay for something to replace it.
If what we saw in the Legislature is any indication, though, it probably won’t involve a trip to Tallahassee. That would seem to be a waste of time.
Dolphins' CEO Mike Dee, who criticized House Speaker Will Weatherford and called the team's future in South Florida "clearly bleak," is no stranger to the stadium subsidy game either. He was the man behind the Red Sox' $99 million, taxpayer-funded spring training stadium in Fort Myers. And all he had to do was threaten a move (to Sarasota) in 2008, even though the Sox' park in Ft. Myers was just 15 years old at the time.