Once upon a time, an average fan who came from a lower or middle-income class background could sit next to a rich man or woman at a sporting event. Today that is not the case. In fact, sports owners practice a form of class segregation with well to do people never mixing or mingling with those who scrap by and save hard earned money to see a professional, major league sports event at a stadium or an arena. Sports owners want customers not fans. They want people who are willing to pay premium prices to attend a game and who are willing to spend a fortune of money at an in-venue restaurant, or valet parking and on team or league branded merchandise.
In the old days, buying a ticket was not an investment. Nor was it an excuse to go to a bank to get a loan to buy a luxury box or a club seat. Now a team will make financial arrangements for a well to do customer. The Internal Revenue Service has told Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke that it is legal for him to offer high end tickets to high rollers as a loan. That’s right a loan. The customers pay for it as a loan to the team so that Kroenke doesn’t have to pay taxes. Kroenke is not paying back the ticket owners. Kroenke needs to sell personal seat licenses to pay off debts on the stadium he is building in Inglewood, California. It is anticipated that virtually every seat in Kroenke’s building for Rams games will be sold as a personal seat license which means customers will have to pay twice for the seat. Once for the license and then for a seat for every game. Sports owners are not apologetic in the pricing scheme that keeps most fans out.
By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.