Sports excite because of the contest: There are winners and losers. But in making “big shows,” some promoters make losers of us all.
South Africa’s sticker price for hosting the World Cup was marked up past $4 billion to nearly $6 billion. The games generated fewer billions in revenue, but the taxpayers of South Africa, one-fourth of whom are out of work, will see little return on their massive investment.
So why would politicians want to “invest” only to lose?
They can’t resist the hoopla. They get to throw a big show with someone else’s bucks. And if some of the money they throw around reaches their pals’ businesses, all the better.
Around the world, governments vie to spend tax money like South Africa just did. In America, we have our city-funded/state-funded sports stadiums. And remember when our president flew across the globe to pitch for the Chicago Olympics?
Rather than soccer fans paying for soccer, baseball fans for baseball, etc., taxpayers support soccer at the expense of those who find the game tedious, baseball fans helped at the expense of opera lovers, etc.
But considering the wages paid to athletes and the profits made by team owners, these subsidies flow bigger not so much from fan to fan but from regular folks to the rich.
Governments are supposed to serve us all. It ruins the game when governments pick sides through subsidies. That way we all lose.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.