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Tag:MLB
Posted on: March 7, 2011 2:17 pm
 

I hate to burst your bubble, but ...

Insult is no longer allowed to be added to injury.  Greed needs a boundary.  The dot.sports bubble is about to burst.

Billionaire NFL owners and millionaire players insult our common sense as they cut up a 10 billion dollar revenue pie paid for by foreclosed fans.  Squeezing literal blood from a stone, owners have extracted huge TV prepayments, sent layoff notices to staff and invented "personal seat licenses" (the infamous mortgage derivative of sports) this year.  Help me understand:  I pay for my seats, I pay shipping and handling and parking and overpriced concessions and logo'd merchandise and, in addition, I have to buy the right to be reamed for a price *larger* than my actual tickets?

Why?  To pad the vault before a pending lockout designed to prevent the players from cutting a bigger slice of the pie - despite overwhelming evidence of the premature deaths and shortened life expectancy of players.  Hello, injury... meet insult.  Football may be the most obvious right now, but baseball and other pro sports share the vastly inflated economic disparity vs. the fans.  Bread and circuses?

Not that the players are underpaid (well, the Pittsburgh Pirates, maybe) - rather, undertaxed. Due to tax breaks for new construction, some players in new top condos in NY pay *one fifth* as much tax as a couple in Queens pays.  Hello, insult?  We forget that players work half a year, not fulltime.  And many duck local taxes in the "home" towns of their ballparks through high-priced advisors. 

And the owners are rigging the game.  Consider this:  DirectTV would have actually paid the owners *more* if there were a lockout than if games were played.  Apart from the TV deals and away gate ticket sales the league divides, owners collect from their stadium (gate) receipts for home games, naming rights, sponsorships, luxury suite revenue, concessions and local broadcast rights.  In addition, your own stadium brings in extra money for concerts, events, a pro shop, and $12 hot dogs. And the trend has clearly been for private stadium ownership.

When owners saw the market trend move from individual fans to corporate buyers a few years back, they raised prices, expanded luxury boxes, and brought in arugula (the aromatic salad green).  Let companys treat clients and vendors from their subscription, right?  And serve wine and brie, right?  Nevermind that the crowd sounds different and TV shots are filled with empty seats, right? 

Wrong.  As the economic bubble burst, companies can't afford overpriced seats and those that still might are *embarassed* to be seen as spending frivolously.  The warning signs are visible during many baseball telecasts.  The dot.com bubble burst.  Then the housing bubble.  Then the mortgage derivative bubble.  Then the Madoff bubble (can you say Wilpon?). Then the jobs bubble.  Soon the public pension bubble.  And state budgets.  Is DoubleBubble next?

New Rule:  Team owners want a hefty percent of everything?  Ok, the pain too.
1)  Since each concussion costs 2 years lifespan, here's the fair way: Team owners must experience exactly the same concussion in their luxury boxes that any player sustains on the field.  Use automated hydraulic helmets or retired players with ball-peen hammers to invoke the "neuron-for-a-neuron" clause of the new collective bargaining agreement.  Have owners and players share the same health plan (like maybe senators and citizens should?). 

2)  Since PSL's are basically a real estate transaction, shouldn't owners pay a tax like we do?  Like a developer selling condo units.  Sales and capital gain per every PSL.  40,000 seats @$10k PSL per = $400 million revenue... what's the fair local tax on that?  25% = $100 million.

In the last few years, most people have seen their pensions and long-term benefits disappear - most corporate workers large and small, as well as teachers, firemen, policemen in the public sector  - the promises were unrealistic and impossible to sustain.  Players may be "entertainers" and push for whatever contracts the market will bear. But the money eventually comes from or is passed on to the public - a broke public, and a market that can't bear it anymore.

At what point is economic disparity so extreme that stadiums are empty... or better - they will look like the streets of Cairo?  Can you say Twitter?




 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com