3 years ago5,000+ Views
Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose. That's the sports motto, but it seems like the industry can lose
Last night, John Oliver took on one of America's most popular industries - sports - and hit it with a little criticism. He's specifically calling out the massive amount of money that cities spend building stadiums. The public money that goes to building private infrastructure is not reaping the greatest return on investment for many American cities.
Economists have pointed out that stadium construction does nothing to increase jobs, income or tax revenue. Bankrupt cities like Detroit are simply adding to already massive debts to build these stadiums.
Put simply, one economist said:

"Rather than spend a billion dollars on a stadium, you're better off flying a plane over the city, dumping a billion dollars on the population and letting them take the money and spend it."

This also seems like a bad idea, but you get the point.
As a less-than-intense sports fan, it feels a bit unfair to comment on this, and I would love to hear from some sports fans or industry experts about their thoughts on the matter. From my standpoint, this seems like a ridiculous thing to continue spending money on when it's negative effects are so obvious.
For a quick summary of his argument, fast forward to the end and watch him give a Friday Night Lights-esque motivational speech urging cities to stop spending so much on stadiums.
john Oliver is of my favorite celebrities. his show has so much humor, but is actual journalism.
Sports is great, but these organizations are amazing... they fool countries to fighting for the right to host their unfair tournament (yes, FIFA, I am talking to you) under the pretense that they make money for the country in the end. That is one of the best lies out there...
@JordanNash you're absolutely right. I think there is more to sports than economics - the benefits to society cannot be measured only by the way they influence a city's economic development - but that doesn't mean that this isnt' really, really problematic.
@LauraFisher @jeff4122 it's absurd that this still continues. Yet another way that sports companies rob municipalities from what they really need money for, like education and hospitals. FIFA is one of the worst organizations that does this, but it's horrible that it occurs at this rate in America. I hope John Oliver can spur some change.
Not to mention that their employment of native workers is far from perfect - tons of workers have died under unsafe conditions in the current preparations for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Some reports suggest that over 1,000 workers have already died.
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