I Don’t Bother Referring Pro Sports Stadiums by their Corporate Sponsors’ Names #wilfare

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.

How to Get Blocked by @normcoleman on Twitter

This might do the trick. When Norm boasts in the glory of corporate welfare that he helped provide the Minnesota Wild. A company that continually tries to have get out of their end of the contract by requesting their loans be forgiven while simultaneously asking for public money to build a practice facility for the team:

MN Wild history:4 new franchises in 2000.Columbus picked ahead of the Wild.Houston bid fell apart & the Wild got in. Poetic justice tonite

Call him on it:

@normcoleman Does this mean that the Wild can stop asking for corporate welfare from taxpayers like you handed them?

Then watch St Paul’s former mayor call me a grinch for opposing corporate welfare for the NHL:

@edkohler Somehow there's always a Grinch in the crowd!

Perhaps pointing out that Norm Coleman used the public’s money to subsidize his private entertainment went too far?

@normcoleman I'd rather see my tax dollars go toward fixing St Paul's East Side than subsidizing your entertainment. Different priorities.

Apparently it was for @normcoleman because that’s when he blocked me.

I imagine that politicians like Norm Coleman would prefer that taxpayers forgot about the corporate welfare they gave away. Yes, we have the Wild. We’re paying for them every day. Even when they don’t make the playoffs. Even when they’re on strike. Even when there’s a lockout.

Money that taxpayers continue to pay to subsidize a private business that competes for entertainment dollars against other locally owned businesses that don’t receive hundreds of millions of dollars in public subsidies. If Norm Coleman had walked down Payne Ave as mayor and asked people what the city could do to make their lives better, subsidizing the NHL probably wouldn’t have been at the top of the list. Different priorities.

Perhaps Coleman wouldn’t be taking credit on Twitter on a Saturday night in 2013 for having made the streets safer or schools better on the East Side of St Paul in the year 2000, but that’s the kind of good government stuff we need more of from our politicians.

Maybe it makes me a fun-hater to think that NHL fans are perfectly capable of using their own money to pay for their own entertainment rather than rely upon corporate welfare with the help of Norm Coleman? The only thing better than paying full price to watch Derek Boogaard contract CTE is to pay a taxpayer subsidized price to watch Derek Boogaard contract CTE, eh?