Government subsidies to corporate fat cats raise your ticket prices

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Plutocrat.jpgYeah, the headline was a bit much, but I like saying “fat cats” whenever I can. This is a story about why tickets to ballgames cost so much:

There are many reasons for the price explosion, but a critical factor
has been the ability of businesses to write off tickets as
entertainment expenses — essentially a huge, and wholly unnecessary,
government subsidy.

These deductions have led to higher ticket
prices in two ways. On the demand side, they have fueled competition for
scarce seats, with business taxpayers bidding in part with dollars they
save through the deductions. On the supply side, the large
number of businesses bidding for expensive seats has driven the
expansion of luxury skyboxes and a reduction in overall seats in new
ballparks.

Of course any politician who tried to repeal tax breaks for luxury boxes would be attacked for trying to “raise” taxes on business. Meanwhile, anyone who wants to use tax dollars to provide basic medical care to poor people is a godless socialist who hates America and everything for which it stands.

I sat in a luxury box for a baseball game once. It was interesting in both good and bad ways. I don’t begrudge their existence. But I never once felt like it was something the government should be subsidizing.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.