Is it better to spend taxpayer money on stadiums or fiber broadband?

St. Louis is stuck with $144 million in debt and maintenance costs, after the Rams departed for Los Angeles (oddly enough it was once the LA Rams until they pulled a switcheroo and did it again to the detriment of the poor taxpayer).

I remember not too long ago the chorus of anti-municipal broadband types screaming about the waste of public money on broadband. Apparently, as long as the city spends our precious tax dollars on SPORTS, it’s fine, even if (a) the owner of the team and the league have tons of money; (b) the ticket prices are outrageous; and (c) the taxpayers are left with an empty stadium and debt.

What’s worse, the departing team is very rich and the league is taking a hands-off approach. This is nothing more than a wealth transfer from the average American taxpayer to the rich.

The next time someone here complains about cities “wasting” money on deploying broadband networks, wired and wireless, I will remind you about the obscene subsidies we all pay to these sports teams and their spoiled, overpaid owners and players. Would you rather have gigabit fiber or an empty rusting stadium?

decaying stadium athens

Comments

  1. Rory Conaway says:

    Great premise, Esme. No professional team should be able to dip into the taxpayers pocket to pay for their stadium. It doesn’t mean I’m behind taxpayer subsidized bandwidth either though, because that money usually goes to political cronies or the biggest companies with the most lobbyists to buy politicians. We see that with the USF and CAF taxes on everyone’s phone bills and telecom bills. They get billions every year so it’s hard for small, innovative companies who don’t own a politician to compete.

  2. Taxpayer money won’t go to the incumbent cable and telecom operators if the city builds the infrastructure and leases out capacity to various service providers giving priority to local small businesses. I know that there are so many sneaky ways for large firms with lobbyists to get taxpayer money but if the city lays an open network giving preference to small businesses like yours, we have a chance to destroy the duopoly and lessen the influence of these companies on our cities.