The Oakland Raiders are headed to Las Vegas after NFL owners voted 31-1 in favor of the move on Monday. The proposed 65,000-seat domed stadium— which will be shared with UNLV — will cost roughly $1.9 billion.
So where is all the money going to come from?
Yup, you guessed it: we the American people. And $750 million of it.
Wait, what? But what about the Raiders?
Oh yeah, don’t worry, they are bringing up the lion’s share with… um… a “whopping” $500 million. Bank of America is the third partner which is providing a $650 million stake to bring the total to $1.9 billion.
That brings me to my next point.
Incredibly, over the past two decades, 21 new NFL stadiums have been built and three others have been heavily renovated thanks to more than $7 billion in public contributions. Think about that for a moment. Over $7 billion (yes, B as in billion) has been used to help the rich get richer. Of the 32 NFL owners, nearly three-quarters of them are billionaires, but it hasn’t stopped them from taking the public’s money.
Get a first look at the Las Vegas Raiders' stadium. pic.twitter.com/mDss7Ft4xM
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) March 28, 2017
Not every team has received public money with the Jets and Giants sharing the financing privately, but a large majority of owners are putting the tab squarely on the public and it’s disgusting.
Minnesota’s new U.S. Bank Stadium took roughly $500 million from public funds from an owner (Zygi Wilf) whose net worth is just over $2 billion. Sadly, the state of Minnesota forged the deal with Wilf, who in 2013, was ordered to pay $84.5 million for defrauding investors in real estate deals and settled with the Environmental Protection Agency two years ago over river pollution.
The Atlanta Falcons’ new billion-dollar stadium (Mercedes-Benz Stadium) has risen up to $1.6 billion with public funding now triple ($600 million) the amount of what taxpayers were initially told, and the stadium still isn’t finished. The Georgia Dome was just fine, but according to management, “the Georgia Dome didn’t provide enough premium seating and other amenities found in recently built NFL stadiums.” Nothing like trying to keep up with the Joneses.
And for the cherry on top, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones — whose net worth is valued at well over $5 billion — built the first billion-dollar football venue ($1.2 billion) in the United States, but did so after collecting $444 million from taxpayers to help pay for the stadium.
NFL owners have become extortionists. And since they will be reaping nearly all the benefits, why should public money be used to fund their games?!
With $7 billion in public funds spent on NFL stadiums over the past two decades, think of what that money could have been used on instead. Don’t forget either that at the current rate — 10-15 years — NFL owners will be back asking for more money to build brand new stadiums.
It’s no secret that America’s infrastructure is aging and literally crumbling away. The U.S. Department of Transportation has estimated that the nation’s highways and bridges face an $808.2 billion backlog of investment needs, including $479.1 billion in critical repair work. And while our nation’s bridges are safe, 11 percent of them are classified as structurally deficient and another 14 percent are not designed for the traffic they currently carry.
State’s nationwide are dealing with homelessness issues, kids are going hungry with more than 13 million of them showing up to school having had nothing to eat.
And remember the whole Oroville Dam problem we had just a couple of months ago? The tallest Dam in the U.S. — which needed repairs back in 2005 — was left to wither away with requests for upgrades being rejected. Fast forward 12 years later and the spillway has a GIGANTIC hole which has led to a number of problems and the evacuation of 188,000 people in February.
— SFGate (@SFGate) March 11, 2017
— KQED (@KQED) March 3, 2017
But who cares about all of that because we have a brand new football stadium. You know, that place where eight football games are played every year. So important right?
Raiders owner Mark Davis would be stupid not to take the nearly $1 billion in free money that was given to him to enrich his pockets and it’s all because of the NFL extortion, where cities are pressured to help pay up for the NFL’s lavish lifestyle.
Davis’ move was simply a money grab which is why Raiders fans should boycott all home games over the next two years. The new Las Vegas stadium won’t be finished until 2020, but either way, Davis is stuck playing in Oakland for the next two years until the lease runs out. It’s not personal, business is just business… right? Davis should understand that concept, with his minivan and flip phone.
On top of all the relocations and blackmailing cities for new stadiums, concussions, rule changes (NFL = no fun league), drama queens, and many other issues, it’s no wonder why NFL ratings continue to decline.
But what this move proves is that tradition, communities, and fans doesn’t matter anymore. Every city is vulnerable now and is now expected to give NFL owners hundreds of millions of dollars to fund their new stadiums. And if the money isn’t there, neither will their team.
So congratulations San Diego and Oakland for holding your ground and not giving into the requests of billionaires because there are way more important things in this life than dealing with those types of people.