Earlier this month, I created some unintentional confusion with the title of this chart of attendance data for Twins home games:

Twins Stadium Attendance by Year

@Rat seemed to think I was referring to the ballpark’s architecture, but that was a reference to the company who slapped their logo all over the ballpark, and seems to expect us to use their brand every time we talk about the publicly financed stadium they sponsored.

Here’s my justification for doing this from the comments of the previous post:

The private business who’s name is on the stadium didn’t put money into building the stadium, and the money they pay goes 100% to the single family rather than split among those who put money into building the stadium.

Mr Magoo put it more bluntly:

Walmart didn’t demand massive subsidies for a downtown Mpls HQ and Walmart didn’t demand massive taxpayer subsidies for three Mpls stadiums that will serve as Target billboards so shoppers can be reminded where they should buy junk food and cheap plastic shit from China.

That sums it up pretty well. When the public heavily subsidizes stadiums for the private owners private sports teams, then the private businesses sells naming rights to the public stadiums, I feel no obligation be a word of mouth marketer for the private sponsor or the private sports team.

As I understand it, many private sports businesses manage to negotiate lucrative deals with corporate welfare enabling legislators, so don’t even need to pay taxes on naming rights. And, I assume that sponsors take a tax deduction on the naming right.

This isn’t good government or corporate behavior, so I choose to avoid enabling it.

It’s possible that Norm Coleman might consider me to be a grinch for not speaking in coal burning power company terms when describing the arena he forced taxpayers to subsidize and subsidize and subsidize in St Paul. Oh well.

I’d consider making an exception for cases where the naming rights covered the public’s share, but what I’m really looking for are corporations who have the decency to work out deals to sponsor stadiums so the public doesn’t need to get involved in stadium financing. When one of our local big box retailers decides to lobby for subsidies from the state, subsidies from the city, subsidies from the county, and to exploit gamblers in order to build stadiums they can slap their names on – with the revenues going to the private owners or the pro sports teams – I lose respect for the big box retailer. Their corporate behavior is not in the public’s best interest.