What happens if a government defaults on stadium payments to a team?

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A lot of sports teams get payments from local governments to pay off stadium construction from diverted property taxes. The system is called tax increment financing – TIFs for short — and the decision of a government to offer that money to sports teams is based on the presumed rise in property tax revenues caused by the stadium being built. It’s a way for governments to claim that stadiums are paying for themselves, as the money wouldn’t have been coming in if the stadium hadn’t improved the overall area to begin with.

Except, often, that tax revenues don’t increase and the government just ends up paying for the stadium out of general tax dollars. By then, however, the stadium is built and people tend not to notice too much.

Neil deMause of Field of Schemes has a great post up today noting that, at least in Reno, Nevada, people are noticing. Indeed, there is at least some suggestion that the local government may just stop paying the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate for the new park out of general funds. deMause wonders what might happen if that actually were to occur.

It’s a great point about an often-overlooked side of public financing of sports facilities.

He gone! Hawk Harrelson called his last game yesterday

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Ken Harrelson has been broadcasting for decades but yesterday was his last one. As of today the Hawk has hung up his mic and entered retirement. He gone!

Harrelson, 77, who played in the majors for nine seasons with the A’s, Red Sox, Indians and Senators and led the AL in RBI in 1968. He was also the White Sox’ general manager for a single season in the mid-80s. That didn’t go well — he famously fired Tony La Russa and Dave Dombrowski and traded away a young Bobby Bonilla, but his career as a broadcaster went swimmingly.

Harrelson served as a Red Sox broadcaster from 1975 through 1981. Despite his reputation as an unrepentant homer for his White Sox — who he called “the good guys,” as opposed to the “bad guys” playing them — he was actually fired as a Red Sox broadcaster for being critical of ownership. He then embarked on his first stint with the White Sox before his move into the front office, worked as a Yankees broadcaster from 1987-88 and worked games for NBC’s Game of the Week in the mid-1980s as well. He then returned to call games for the White Sox in 1990 and the rest is history.

Hawk will still be a team ambassador for Chicago so he not totally gone, but the White Sox broadcast booth is entering a new era.