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.

Bogaerts reportedly heading to the Padres for 11 years, $280 million

xander bogaerts
Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres and Xander Bogaerts agreed to a blockbuster $280 million, 11-year contract Wednesday night, adding the All-Star slugger to an already deep lineup.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the contract to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

The Padres already had Fernando Tatis Jr. at shortstop, but he missed the entire season because of injuries and an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

San Diego also met with Aaron Judge and Trea Turner before the big stars opted for different teams. The Padres reached the NL Championship Series this year before losing to the Phillies.

“From our standpoint, you want to explore and make sure we’re looking at every possible opportunity to get better,” general manager A.J. Preller said before the Bogaerts deal surfaced. “We’ve got a real desire to win and do it for a long time.”

The 30-year-old Bogaerts was one of the headliners in a stellar group of free-agent shortstops that also included Turner, Carlos Correa and Dansby Swanson.

Bogaerts, who’s from Aruba, terminated his $120 million, six-year contract with Boston after the season. The four-time All-Star forfeited salaries of $20 million for each of the next three years after hitting .307 with 15 homers and 73 RBIs in 150 games.

Bogaerts is a .292 hitter with 156 homers and 683 RBIs in 10 big league seasons – all with Boston. He helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 and 2018.

Bogaerts becomes the latest veteran hitter to depart Boston after the Red Sox traded Mookie Betts to the Los Angeles Dodgers in February 2020. Rafael Devers has one more year of arbitration eligibility before he can hit the market.

Bogaerts had his best big league season in 2019, batting .309 with a career-best 33 homers and 117 RBIs. He had 23 homers and 103 RBIs in 2018.

In 44 postseason games, Bogaerts is a .231 hitter with five homers and 16 RBIs.