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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

Please Explain Why Bucks Billionaires Need Corporate Welfare?

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Posted at RightWisconsin.

There will, of course, be nothing simple about crafting a plan to build a new arena for the Bucks. But several things are quite clear:
 
No matter how awful the team or how lousy the attendance, owners in the NBA will still get rich. Fabulously rich. The Milwaukee Bucks were – to use Forbes’s term – the "dregs" of the NBA, and yet they sold for $550 million. (The LA Clippers are likely to sell for at least $700 million, maybe as much as $1 billion.)
 
Despite that, the new billionaire owners of the team say they can’t be expected to pay for a new arena with private money. 
 
That leaves the taxpayers. And if we don’t pay up, the team will leave. Of course, they haven’t said that in so many words but last week’s ESPN storymade clear that the threat is locked and loaded.
 
This raises some obvious questions: 
 
Could those millionaires and billionaires afford to pay for their own arenas? We frankly don’t know, because they never have to.  (San Francisco being the notable exception.)
 
Why would the new owners – who have shown the ability and willingness to throw around hundreds of millions of dollars -- expect somebody else to pay for their playground? If the project is as profitable as boosters insist, why not use private financing? If the ROI is so promising, where are the private sector investors?
 
Why the insistence on corporate welfare? Apparently, because that’s the way it’s supposed to work. 
 

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