After a couple of months’ diversions, I hope I am getting back to something like regular blogging, starting with a nice article — as far as it goes, at least– by Gregg Easterbrook about the subsidies and political favors governments provide for professional football. A lot of this, on stadium subsidies (not just for football), has been covered in the past by Heartland, most recently here (pdf). But Easterbrook covers some additional ground, noting the federal favors done for the football business. I hadn’t been aware that NFL has a special anti-trust exemption (I thought it was just one of the many many cases where feds choose not to enforce laws.) And I’d never made the connection between stadiums paid for by the public, and the “intellectual” “property” of football game images, which of course are government-created privilege.
Easterbrook does seem to be a football fan, which is a skill (affliction?) far beyond my capabilities. My preferred remedy for “sports” subsidies has always been for the audience to go away and do something else. But even tho I’m just as happy watching an amateur softball game, many people evidently get pleasure from seeing the professionals in action. Easterbrook suggests that it’s necessary that “public attitudes change.” Great idea, but as long as the public feel compelled to watch these games, it’s difficult to imagine any politician willing to risk the wrath of those who control them.