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NFL Owners Get the Boot for Public Money Demands

Once upon a time, owners of professional sports franchises were wealthy men who invested their own money to operate and improve their teams. They operated with the knowledge that even though they were not turning a profit every year, their franchises would appreciate sufficiently to award them a handsome profit once they decided to sell.

The explosion of television and other ancillary sources of income helped skyrocket the value of these franchises and provided most owners a built-in profit whether they operated responsibly or not. Unable to control themselves, they chose to escalate salaries in an effort to one-up each other, relying on the money coming in, as well as raising ticket prices well beyond the reach of the average fan.

Now it seems this is not enough. The NFL owners, for example, arrogantly insist that unless they receive public money, there will be no franchise in Los Angeles.

I have a painfully simple solution for the predicament--Give them as much public money as they wish under the following condition:

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Every public dollar given will have an equity position in the franchise. That means the public investment will share in the profits as well as realize its share of the appreciation when the franchise is sold.

Surely, only the greediest of robber barons would reject such a generous offer. And if they do, I am sure I speak for the majority of California taxpayers when I say “to hell with them.”

AVRUMIE SCHNITZER, Los Angeles

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So Gov. Gray Davis has offered to give up naming rights to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to help lure an NFL franchise into town. Will the same stadium whose historic peristyle pays homage to the American soldiers who sacrificed their lives in World War I now be renamed to honor a corporation?

Personally, I think this is a brilliant idea and hope that more government officials will wake up to the millions that can be made selling sponsorships to other publicly owned landmarks.

How about “the Frito-Lay Statue of Liberty,” “Mt. Rushmore, brought to you by Valvoline” and “Walt Disney’s Arlington National Cemetery”?

CHRIS NORLIN, Los Angeles

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NFL owners, please, please do call our bluff. Houston awaits you. Los Angeles couldn’t care less one way or the other.

Ya’ll stay away now, y’hear!

RONALD O. RICHARDS, Los Angeles

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NFL owners should know better than to question this city’s fortitude. Have they already forgotten the woeful products they subjected us to just five years ago? If they want to dump another team in this city, that is fine. But if they expect us to pay for the “honor,” they should be penalized 15 yards for stupidity.

RICH LANG, Manhattan Beach


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