Friday, September 04, 2009

Jerry Jones is Full of Cowpucky

Jerry Jones took advantage of his team's visit to Minnesota to complain about the state of Metrodome revenue, and to add his voice to the Chorus of Billionaires asking for money. He should know a little bit about that, as he convinced the city of Arlington to fleece tourists to help pay for his brand new, supremely stupid and gauche stadium. Tourists who had come to see the wrecked houses and business that the new stadium would occupy? Shockingly, no. They were there for Six Flags over Texas, which is happily located in Arlington. Thanks to Jerry Jones, those folks got to pay extra in sales tax, hotel tax, and car rental tax--for a stadium they will never visit.

Those taxes raised over $325 million dollars. That's $75 million more than what was needed to build FedEx Field, way back in 1997. Jerry is such a savvy business man that he had his $650 million stadium almost totally paid for without using any money of his own. He's also such a savvy business man that his stadium cost twice as much as the projected cost. He's had to leverage all sorts of loans and bonds and deals to get his vision finalized (and his vision is awfully Trump-like). Why would any owner listen to him about how to go about their business? He got his ugly thing built, but for 1.2 Billion dollars? In this economy? It is insulting, and it is also why visitors will find themselves either dumping upwards of $60 to park in the stadium parking lots, or paying only $25, and walking more than a mile from a city lot. Congratulations fans--you are paying for the stadium that you also paid to get into. Suck on that.

So, why I am ranting this? I clearly don't give two poops about what the rubes in Texas choose to waste their money on. Here's why--because I haven't gotten to the worst part about Jones' visit to our Land of Sky Blue Waters. Jones got in media's ear and let them know the current revenue sharing agreement that has helped bring parity to the league is doomed to die after the Collective Bargaining Agreement ends in 2010.

Here is the Star Tribune's Judd Zulgad's quote of Jones talking about revenue sharing:

We're in the last year of our collective bargaining agreement next year, that's an uncapped year, and then you don't have it anymore right there," Jones said. "It goes away automatically right there. When the labor agreement is over, it will be over and when there's a new one in it won't be a part of it."

Jerry Jones can say that as authoritatively as he would like--but that doesn't make it true. Jerry Jones would very much like to see revenue sharing end--he's got $650 million in loans he might be on the hook for, because his stupid new stadium went over budget by twice as much as the original estimate. He'd rather not share revenue--but exactly how many owners in this environment are building stadiums that cost over a billion dollars? None of them. To the vast majority of owners, revenue sharing is a good thing. Just because Jerry Jones says it will be gone, doesn't mean it will be gone.

Jerry also suggests that if Minnesota taxpayers won't pay for a new stadium, someone else will. Really? I doubt that. Especially if it costs as much as the first leg of the Cash for Clunkers deal. The promise that owners will pay some of the cost isn't enough any more. Let me know what city is doing well enough to pump in $400-600 million dollars to help a billionaire in this economy. Where would the Vikings go? South Carolina? LA? Nowhere?

One of the most galling things is that Jones mentions that the Green Bay Packers, playing in a much smaller market, help fund teams like the Vikings, who don't have the right "revenue streams" in the Metrodome. The Green Bay Packers? REALLY? Because I don't remember their owners threatening to move the team if they didn't get a new stadium. Oh, right, because the Green Bay Packers are owned by the fans, and when they need to raise revenue, they issue stock.

What does that mean in real terms? Let me quote Jim Hightower on Green Bay from 1997. Hightower is a righteous Texan (just like Jerry Jones!):

This is a team that does not have to spend a dime on building community support, because the team belongs to the town, which draws $60 million a year in direct economic benefits from the enterprise. The town built and owns the stadium, which has been sold-out for 40 years, with 20,000 names on the waiting list for season tickets.

By the way, no ticket costs more than $28, no parking space is more than seven bucks and, on snowy days, local homeowners let fans park in their garages . . . for free. Also, on a big-gameday, the "West Pitcher Show" in downtown Green Bay shows the game on the big screen, like a movie, for free.

As Hightower points out--this model is so attractive to communities that NFL owners made sure to ban this model of ownership for any other team. Jerry Jones voted against a model of ownership that keeps teams in their locales, asks the community directly for funds, and builds a real fan base in a smaller markets. And so Jerry Jones whines about the fact that the Vikings get subsidized by a team that he finds distasteful.

And just so you know, Jerry Jones is not above outright bribery (shocking). From Zulgad: "Jones also said that if the Vikings do get a new stadium, he would vote for a Super Bowl to be played in Minnesota."

In short, Jerry Jones is almost certainly lying about the CBA, botched his own stadium, and is certainly lying when he holds up The Green Bay Packers as a good thing--he hates them. Jerry Jones--awful, awful human being/ghoul.

1 comment:

j monday said...

Well said. I live on 1 of the few blocks of homes left around Jerry's monument to Jerry. This, as a lifelong Packer fan, is bad enough without all the shit he and A-town are heaping on us. We are surrounded by a wasteland of razed homes that Jerry ceded to A-town, which then enacted an ordinance, in closed session, barring operation of parking lots in Arlington by anyone but themselves or anyone operating a venue with 40,000 or more seats (Jerry!) I had a contract to sell my home to a developer, contingent on their getting zoning for their project. Arlington refused to lift the residential zoning thus killing the deal. They (and Jerry!) are now holding developement meetings at city hall in closed session as they try to find a way to condemn our homes for a hotel developement.