There may be no player in sports more interesting than the Seattle Seahawks, Richard Sherman. In many ways, Richard Sherman is both the National Football League and sports owners’ worst nightmare in that he speaks his mind. Sherman has opined that it is time to undo all the public subsidies that have been invested in stadiums and arenas and let owners go back to the days when if they wanted a stadium or an arena, they built the building with no public money.
In 1950, the city of Milwaukee decided to build a multi-purpose stadium to attract a Major League Baseball team which did happen in 1953 when Lou Perini moved his Boston Braves to a ballpark called County Stadium. Perini hardly paid any rent in 1953 and made a load of money.
Sherman gets paid millions thanks to sweetheart deals, and since 1986 tax code reform under the right set of circumstances an owner can earn 92 cents out of every dollar generated in the building. In an interview with ESPN Seattle radio, Sherman was talking presidential politics and came up with a money saving plan. “I’d get us out of this deficit. I’d stop spending billions of taxpayer dollars on stadiums and probably get us out of debt and maybe make the billionaires who actually benefit from the stadiums pay for them. That kind of seems like a system that would work for me.” It probably would be seconded by people who have seen all sorts of taxes rise or those who lost their jobs because these subsidized sports structures aren’t just a base cost, there is interest on the debt that has to be paid. Sherman is in a town where taxpayers had to pay off the debt on a stadium that was blown up in 2000, but not paid in full until 2015. Sherman’s talk is downright dangerous to sports owners’ wallets.
By Evan Weiner for the Politics of Sports Business.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.