Last Week Tonight with John Oliver spent most of Sunday's episode explaining how stadiums in America are financial nightmares. From the Bucks threatening to leave Milwaukee to a bunch of NFL teams threatening to move to Los Angeles, it seems as though the only people who lose in the process are the taxpayers who will most likely have to pay for new stadiums.
As John Oliver summed it up:
"Municipal bonds are a way for the city to take out a loan, which they then later repay with interest -- although, through new or existing taxes. They're supposed to be for things like roads or schools -- public goods that private industry would not pay for. But they've been routinely misused to finance stadiums for decades, and often, cities do it because teams claim they can't afford to build stadiums themselves."
He followed this by using the Miami Marlins as an example: the team that got almost $500 million "by pleading poverty," but leaked documents showed that they made $50 million over two years. Remember that some of this money was spent putting aquariums behind home plate.
The show's exploration on stadiums is fascinating and disheartening, but it's not entirely hopeless, if you do what John Oliver (in his Friday Night Lights costume) asks at the end and "make them pay."