Sunday, September 05, 2010

Sports Socialists

Marcus Breton, one of the sports columnists for the Sacramento Bee, wrote today that for the region to keep the hapless Sacramento Kings (last season's sparkling record was 25-57) we need to put up some public money or (shudder) we will lose them.   I say "bye bye." Their record last year was an improvement over the 2008-09 campaign where they managed to win 17 games.  The year before that they won 38 games.   They did have a recent winning season (2005) where they won 44 games.

Breton argues that the Kings are a "rallying point for people from Stockton to the Oregon border."  I guess I have a different view of a "rallying point."  The team has declining attendance and over-priced tickets.  Why should anyone support that involuntarily?   For civic pride?  To be a laughingstock of the NBA?

Breton argues that public subsidy is "the price of doing business in sports."  Says who, the owners of the franchises?  Of course they would claim that.  But think for a minute about the premise of the argument.  Would we give a couple of hundred million dollars to get a shoe store?  And, if we did, because many localities offer incentives to businesses that provide real jobs, would we do it every couple of years as the sports owners seem to demand?  If that is the price of doing business in sports how come the European soccer leagues all are non-subsidized? If it is true how come so many cities are laughing away the pleas of owners of franchises?

These sports owners got a lot of localities to pony up dough to keep their civic pride but that is changing.  If the owners of the Kings can't get a bribe to stay here, then good riddance. And if it bruises Breton's pride - let him go too.

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