New Broncos owner Rob Walton was asked about his priorities as the new owner. The stadium came up almost immediately. Of course it did. Fucking stadiums. The older I get the more of a scam they make themselves out to be. They seem like ways for owners to flex and make money rather than anything else. Because they are!

John Oliver did a good bit on it several years ago that’s worth watching if you missed it, but in summary: it’s fucking bullshit. Billionaire owners make city residents fund the construction of massive buildings from which they basically keep all the revenue from. Fans and residents don’t see any of that benefit, which makes it doubly insulting for any resident who doesn’t care about sports.

Stadiums don’t really boost surrounding areas. They don’t really provide longterm employment or quality employment opportunities. For the most part, the stadiums just fucking sit there, unused, the vast majority of the year. For shits and giggles I went to the Broncos site and looked at the calendar for 2022. There are 365 days in a year. The Broncos stadium has scheduled activities there for 22 days. For 94% of the year, the stadium is a lifeless husk of concrete and metal that Denver residents paid for instead of the billionaires at the top. Expecting the stadium to be in use every day is obviously a bit much, but for a venue the people paid for, shouldn’t they get more opportunities to use it?

Theoretically, if the Broncos upgrade, that would be part of the advantages. More events. Metlife, for example, has a better usage rate even ignoring the extra 8 games per year. Metlife was also one of the few stadiums that was privately funded. But it’s not enough to justify this. Owners have been taking advantage of cities and using sports teams as investments for a ridiculous amount of time. Dipshit failsons and evil businessmen looking to get extra revenue shouldn’t be able to hold taxpayers and cities hostage to pay for their own little giant empty playgrounds. It’s bullshit. How many stories have we seen over the years of this happening. St. Louis was robbed. San Diego stood up for itself and was robbed. Los Angeles itself got robbed twice, and then had to pay for Kroenke’s new palace. Oakland got robbed. Baltimore got robbed, and then robbed Cleveland a decade later. These stadiums get put up too fast, aren’t designed for the long term, and then the cycle repeats itself in a couple decades or less.

I’m not enough of an economist to really provide a solution, and every situation has its own quirks and problems (for example, Metlife was not funded by New Jersey, it was funded by the owners of the Jets and Giants, one of the few good moves they’ve made). But it’s pretty easy to see that we are getting taken advantage of and at the very least, the city should have to pay significantly less, if they pay at all, and should also have more ownership over the stadiums themselves. Fans are what give these teams meaning and value. They should get more from it.