Following the St. Louis Rams and the San Diego Chargers – now Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers – the Oakland Raiders have recently announced that they will become the latest NFL team to engage in a location makeover.
Their move to Las Vegas and a new $750 million stadium that will be built to host them, however, will be a collective funding without an opt-out option for Nevada residents and visitors. The resources will come directly from taxpayer money and an increased tourist tax. The maneuver is questionable and scandalous to say the least, despite being a trend.
According to Al Jazeera America, state and local tax revenues spent on stadium construction since 1995 surpass $6 billion, and an average of 57 percent of construction costs is funded by state and local governments – despite the NFL’s tremendous yearly revenue and team owners’ significant personal wealth.
Team owners relying on taxpayer money for convenience is appalling, while plenty of programs that residents could truly benefit from lack funds for basic survival, and the go-to excuse is almost always a financial one.
For the new Raiders stadium, an additional tax of 0.88 percent will be added to rooms rented on the Strip and adjacent areas, and 0.5 percent to rooms within the remainder of the stadium district, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
In his March article for Slate, Henry Grabar wrote that the Raiders’ new arena will qualify as a record for a sports facility, with roughly $354 per resident taken from the increased tax on hotel rooms. He added that the tax currently pays for schools, transportation and tourism costs.
This shows that not only do some NFL teams have their priorities wrong when putting a brand new state-of-the-art stadium over an established fanbase, but also that the representatives who make decisions in the name of the people would rather invest in a legacy they can point at rather than long-lasting impact in the communities.
In either case, those who are supposed to win – the fans and the residents are the ones forgotten, as it has been shown that money talks louder than passion and call of duty.