Professional Sports Scams another City: Seattle Sonics Lie to Peter to Get Handouts from Paul

Now here’s an exercise in real guts.

The Seattle Sonics, like most professional sports teams, has always whined and pleaded its way into sweetheart deals, huge tax subsidies, and other perks from his host city. The rationale for this sort of welfare has always been the somewhat dubious: that professional sports draw lots of extra cash into the city. This is, in fact, how current President George Bush found his first and only real business success: convincing taxpayers to give him and his partners millions and millions of dollars of free handouts and shady land grabs to build a stadium for their Texas Rangers, supposedly to revitalize the city of Arlington. Suffice to say, little to no economic benefit ever appeared, and indeed most of the best economic analysis of the issue predicts no or even negative effects on local economies for such scams.

That, however, is not the real outrage here. However dubious the claim that sports teams have substantial impacts on the local economy, owners have always stuck to their guns on the issue, insisting that city taxpayers owe them their paychecks, like it or not, for all they supposedly bring to the city. Except, of course, if that argument inconveniences them.

And that’s how it is that the Sonics are currently arguing in court that they shouldn’t have to fulfill their leased contract with the city of Seattle… because the team up and moving to Oklahoma would have little or no impact on the local economy. That’s the exact opposite of what they claimed when they fleeced Seattle taxpayers to win the heavily subsidized lease in the first place.

But even that’s not quite twisted enough: at the very same time, the team is out in in Oklamhoma demanding that local taxpayers tithe 100 million in cash towards their team…

You’ve got one guess as to how they’re trying to justify that handout.

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