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John Oliver tears down publicly-funded stadiums [VIDEO]

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On Sunday’s ‘Last Week Tonight,’ John Oliver spent close to 20 minutes breaking down what is wrong with the way stadiums are publicly-funded in the United States. He specifically pointing out how owners and teams regularly manipulate the cities they are in to gain financial rewards to build new stadiums, and then reap the profits while the surrounding communities see no increase in business.

Oliver is well-known for taking on corrupt organizations and practices and shining a light on what is wrong the systems. For example, he gave a dressing down to FIFA during several episodes of his hit HBO show.

Not only does Oliver break down how sports teams in cities are able to take money from the taxpayers, but he talks about how having a stadium and team might be detrimental to the city as a whole.


John Oliver interviewed by David Letterman on topic of English soccer.

Sit back and watch Oliver rant on a topic that has relevance to soccer in the United States (hello David Beckham in Miami):

Mobile app users, watch the video here.


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  1. Brad

    July 14, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    My Milwaukee Bucks is going to get a new arena. The current owner and previous put up $250 million and the taxpayers are going to pay the remaining $250 million.

  2. CTBlues

    July 14, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    If any publically funded stadium sells the naming rights to the stadium the city/county/state or which ever combination paid for it should get most if not all of the money from that deal until the loans are paid off.

    Another thing that should be used is a usage tax which is a tax on tickets, parking, and concessions that goes to paying off the loans.

  3. Kei

    July 14, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    Not to mention that the prestige and the so-called economic impact of hosting big time friendlies and competitive matches often leads cities to throw money at stadium upgrades, with no guarantees that the events will actually come to town.

    This is to say nothing of the league using the tried-and-true “Big Four” blueprint of pitting cities against each other in order to extract stadium subsidies (sometimes within the same metro area, as is the case right now in the Twin Cities).

    Pro sports in North America. What a f—ing racket.

    • CTBlues

      July 14, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      You think this is limited to sports? Businesses do this all the time. They get tax breaks from a city or state for x amount of years and when those tax breaks run out they threaten to move if they don’t get new tax breaks.

      • Kei

        July 14, 2015 at 1:12 pm

        When did I say it was limited to sports? That’s basically how this country (if not the whole world) has been run for quite some time.

        It’s high time someone shed some light on this long con. Kudos to John Oliver.

  4. Kei

    July 14, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    DC United will be getting a ton of tax breaks in order to build their new stadium. Minnesota United are looking to get a fair few of their own before building theirs.

    Arthur Blank is getting a ton of public money for the construction of his stadium in Atlanta. Yankee Stadium (where NYCFC may play for a while) was built largely on tax dollars.

    Orlando City only caved on their subsidy demands for a new stadium because Florida legislature all but ignored their pleas.

    Yeah, I’d say this issue is very highly relevant to soccer in America.

  5. Harry Cee

    July 14, 2015 at 11:48 am

    FedEx Field anyone? Any redskins fans here want t talk about why this team is trying to move BACK into DC after disrupting MD with this eyesore and hard to reach stadium?

  6. toryblue

    July 14, 2015 at 11:15 am

    this is very relevant to soccer in the united states, as MLS regularly hoodwinks the public into paying for stadiums that they don’t want, and end up bankrupting the towns that the stadiums are built in.

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