Tom’s Sunday Sermon – 2-1-14

Tom’s in the pulpit…Sports ..Public Debt..and Crony-Corporatism…

maybe Tom’s stopped preachin’ and gone to meddlin’…

Super Bowl Sunday is the second-largest day for consumption of food and drink for Americans, behind Thanksgiving Day.  Dips and spreads are the top choice followed by chicken wings and pizza.  Dominos hopes to deliver 9 million pizzas.  An estimated 52 million cases of beer will be consumed.
Last years Super Bowl had the most viewers ever — 111.5 million, and it stands as the most watched television program in US history.  Companies will pay a cool $4.5M this year for a 30 second ad, hoping their message connects.
Seattle is the first team to play in back to back SB’s since … the New England Patriots in 2005, 2006. Tom Brady is the first quarterback to start in 6 SB’s. The Patriots are a slight favorite.
  • Trivia: … of the San Francisco 49’ers, Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers, one of these franchises has 6 SB titles, the others 5.
Which franchise has 6?  Answer at the bottom.
This years SB will be played at University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale, AZ.  The NY Times reports that more than 40% of Glendale’s debt is dedicated to paying off sports complexes.
Financing sports arenas and stadiums with taxes and public debt is never a good idea.
Below is an excerpt from an article that expands on that point…

Super Bowls and the Super Rich — by Andrew B Wilson

… In trying to attract or retain sports franchises, our cities have all too often followed the reverse model of public assistance for private gain, or what is also known as corporate welfare and crony capitalism.
When it comes to building a new stadium or to making major improvements in an existing one, political and civic leaders have been all too ready to grovel at the feet of the wealthy owners of professional sports teams, saying in effect: If you pick our stadium over competing venues, we will do everything in our power in using the public purse to swell your bottom line and to multiply the value of your franchise.
Consider the astounding concessions that my home city of St. Louis made to get the then Los Angeles Rams to move to St. Louis in 1995 — and how it will have to ante up another $400 million or so in public gold to have any hope of holding on to the team.
Neil deMause, co-author of Field of Schemes: How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money Into Private Profit, calls the deal that the city of Saint Louis struck w the Rams “the worse lease ever” — meaning the most one-sided in enriching the team’s owners at the expense of the taxpayers … while doing far more to please deep-pocketed corporate clients (conducting partially tax deductible “business entertainment” in their luxury suites) than to control ticket prices or provide better seating for ordinary fans.
The Rams paid no part of the $480 million in construction costs in building the Edward Jones Dome, and they have paid almost nothing in rent (just $250,000 a year). They received all luxury box and concession revenues, took 75% of advertising and name rights, and pocketed a $46 million relocation fee.
Still more, political and civic leaders signed on to a deal that gave the team the right to opt out of a 30-year lease after 20 years — if the stadium no longer ranked in the “top tier” of NFL stadiums. As a result, the Rams may move as soon as 2016, but St louis City and County and the state of Missouri are still on the hook for $120 million in remaining bond payments falling due between 2016 and 2021.
According to Forbes, the St. Louis Rams football team is now worth about $930 million. Experts say that the value of the franchise will jump to $2.5-to-$3.5 billion if the team moves to Los Angeles. Any such increase in value would more than offset the cost of building a new stadium in LA. Rams owner Stan Kroenke — a billionaire developer and the husband of Ann Walton Kroenke, daughter of Wal-Mart co-founder Bud Walton — has acquired a prime site for a new NFL stadium in the city’s Inglewood neighborhood.
The city of Saint Louis and the state of Missouri are considering a brand-new publicly owned riverfront stadium that would meet the most exacting NFL standards, w still more luxury suites, high-priced club seats, scoreboard, and other amenities. It would cost close to a billion dollars, w local and state taxpayers picking up about 40% of that through publicly financed debt, state tax credits, and other means that would depletelocal and state tresuries and leave less money for police, roads, schools, and other public needs.
However, there seems to be little public or political support for the project. A recent poll commissioned by the Missouri Alliance for Freedom shows that 70% of Missouri voters are opposed to public funding for the stadium.
In preparing to wave goodbye to the Rams, many St Loisians (this writer included) will say “thanks for the memories.” We had “the greatest show on turf” for three years — winning the Super Bowl in 2000, contending in the playoffs the following season, and losing only in the final seconds of another thrilling Super Bowl in 2002.
Thirteen out of 32 NFL teams have never won the ultimate prize, and four have never made a Super Bowl appearance.
But as for more subsidies to support a new stadium — and the use of taxpayers’ money to line the pockets of a billionaire owner and to provide still more luxurious accommodations for wealthy patrons — enough is enough.
Expect St. Louis and the state of Missouri to turn thumbs down on a new riverfront stadium. …”
News, notes and whatever:
  • Hillary Clinton — “My accomplishments as Secretary of State? Well, I’m glad you asked!  My proudest accomplishment in which I take the most pride, mostly because of the opposition it faced early on, you know, the remnants of prior situations and mindsets that were too narrowly focused in a manner whereby they may have overlooked the bigger picture and we didn’t do that and I’m proud of that. Very proud. I would say that’s a major accomplishment.”  Huh??
  • A new report shows Uber is not only growing in popularity, but making our streets safer as well. A survey said 88% of respondents agreed w the statement that “Uber has made it easier for me to avoid driving home when I’ve had too much to drink,” and 78% said Uber has made it less likely that their friends drive after drinking.  Seattle reported a 10% decrease in drunk driving arrests after Uber’s entry and after uberX launched in cities across California, monthly alcohol-related crashes decreased by 6.5% among drivers under 30.
  • In less than a month, American Sniper has grossed $217M and has passed Saving Private Ryan as the #1 war movie of all-time. And Sniper is having a huge Super Bowl weekend.  Ya gotta see it!
  • Houston Texans super-star JJ Watt will be honored at pre-Super Bowl festivities for his amazing season and when asked if he’s attending the game, he replied — “I won’t go until I’m playing in it.”
Which franchise has 6 SB titles?  The Pittsburgh Steelers.
See ya next week.
Lower spending, lower taxes, minimum regulation – and get government out of our lives. The Conservative ticket. Spread the word. Send ’em a Sermon!

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