Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Toys Go Winding Down

James Causey, of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is the latest to jump on the 'Milwaukee must build the Bucks a new basketball stadium or else' bandwagon. He opines, The clock is winding down for the Bucks.
Local taxpayers should not expect Kohl to foot the entire bill for a new or renovated facility. No owner will take on such a task. But, remember, taxpayers didn't pay for the Bradley Center. The facility was a $90 million gift from the late philanthropist Jane Bradley Pettit. And although everyone groaned about the stadium tax — that we all still pay — most of us are glad we have Miller Park.
"Everybody was bitching about the tax, but the stadium is pretty, so everything is OK." That's not a justification for spending millions of taxpayers' dollars.

Plus, most of the taxpayers probably never even go to a Brewers game. The majority of residents paying the stadium tax most likely never attend a game.

The Bucks averaged 15,035 people per home game last year. The five counties paying the stadium tax have a combined population (as of 2012) of 1,761,778. That's less than 1% of the five-county population per game attending a game. If we assume no person in the five-county area saw more than 1 game over the course of last season, based on last years attendance, that would still be less than 35% of the five-county population that went to a Bucks' game. [(15,035 * 41 home games)/1,761,778]

The Milwaukee Brewers' attendance in 2013 was the lowest its been since 2006. Miller Park is a lovely should be, it was  built in 2001. The primary reason for increased attendance was not the new stadium, it was fielding a competitive team. Hence, the Brewers are back to their losing ways and less people are showing up.

In 2013, the Bucks had the 4th worst attendance and the 13th worst record. If the public must fund stadiums, can we at least have a clawback provision which assures that teams spend a certain amount on payroll? If they don't, they need to repay the subsidy. If we have to fork over cash to fund a private operation, we need some assurances that we'll be getting a competitive team (or at least a team trying to be competitive) for our investment.

Causey concedes stadiums are a low priority, "Milwaukee has a number of problems more pressing than a new sports arena. Our schools could use more funding, poverty is a very real problem and some of our roads and streets have so many potholes that you have to play dodge ball with your car. These issues will still exist with or without a new Bucks facility."

Or we could take the money to address those real problems instead of spending it on a sport stadium.

Yet, we really need this stadium?

For Further Reading:
Buck The System
Buck You
Big League Confusion
Stadium Swindle
More Bradley Center Bull
The Time Is Now?
Is There Anything A Stadium Can't Solve?
The Legalized Bribery That Is Sports Subsidization
It's A Scandal! It's A Outrage!
Bradley Center Boosters Keep Pounding That Drum
Overblown Bradley Center Impacts

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