RUSH: Don in San Antonio, Texas, welcome.
CALLER: From one sports connoisseur to another, I do have a question for you, Rush.
RUSH: Ask it.
CALLER: Do you believe the reason that the Senate as well as the House and the Congress is getting involved with the business of pro sports, is because they use taxpayer money to build stadiums?
RUSH: Well, I think that might be one of the items of leverage that they use to justify it, as well as some sports, you know, have anti-trust exemption. But I think it’s simply election year or close-to-election year grandstanding and the natural tendency of bureaucrats and people in power to want more and more of it.
RUSH: I just think it’s grandstanding. You talking about steroids, the hearings for baseball, for example?
CALLER: Yes. Yes. Especially — and everything in the avenues that they are using in order to get involved is because taxpayer money is being asked upon by more owners to finance their stadiums in order to get it built, and that’s their way in order to get into the business of pro sports.
RUSH: So what would you suggest? I mean, the genie is out of the bottle. These stadiums have already been built with a percentage of taxpayer money. They are built.
CALLER: Which is true. However, I do believe more owners do have to finance a little bit more than what they’re asking for at the same time. When you had owners like Lamar Hunt, Joe Robbie, folks that back in the day, they built their own stadiums. They didn’t sit up here and ask the folks to finance it, then run up on the ticket prices in order for you to pay for it.
RUSH: Yeah, I know. I know. Bob Kraft, Robert Kraft of the Patriots built his own stadium —
RUSH: — for the Patriots, but a lot of these teams do have to blackmail the city and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to have to relocate if we don’t get a new stadium here.’
RUSH: But, you know, all find that the foundation of this is money. Let’s look at the NFL for just a second.
RUSH: Revenue sharing used to be pretty equally spread across the board from all sources. But then all of a sudden exemptions started cropping up, among them, luxury suites —
RUSH: — and the seats that are in front of them. That revenue was kept by the team and not shared. Well, some stadiums didn’t have those. Some stadiums had very few of those. But the newer stadiums had all kinds of those, and that meant that there were teams in the NFL that were getting richer from that kind of revenue than others, and that put a competitive disadvantage to the other teams — what they thought was a competitive disadvantage — so they had to go out and get their stadiums, too. Now, in baseball much the same thing is happening although not so much revenue sharing, but for different reasons. The new stadiums… Have you checked the ticket prices for choice seats at the new Yankees stadium and —
CALLER: Oh, yes, sir. (laughs) Yes, sir. See, this is helping me build a synopsis for a possible paper later on, so this is just ridiculous and off the chain. That’s the reason why I asked the question.
RUSH: I think the main reason that Congress is getting involved is because they can and they’re meddlers and they want to use threats, anti-trust. They want to be involved in as much as possible, not just sports but in every aspect of your life they can get themselves involved. In, now, they do need an entree, and the entree is, ‘Taxpayers are building these stadiums. We represent the taxpayers,’ blah, blah, blah. You’re right about that.
RUSH: No question. Now, these ticket prices, I’m going to have to look these prices up specifically. But a dugout seat, dugout three rows back at Yankee Stadium, it seems like I read $2,000 a game.
CALLER: Yes. That’s what I have right now. That’s what I’ve seen on the Internet.
RUSH: 2,000 bucks a ticket.
CALLER: That’s just bananas.
RUSH: And the Mets are going to be charging something similar to that. The New York Giants and the Jets are going to move into a new stadium in a couple years, and the Giants — who have been really of all the NFL teams pretty fan friendly and loyal to their fan base — are going to charge for the first time personal seat licenses. Are you writing about personal seat licenses in your synopsis?
CALLER: No, I didn’t, and I never considered that really.
RUSH: Well, you ought to. Do you know what a personal seat license is?
CALLER: Educate me, Rush. You always do.
RUSH: At one of these new stadiums, you’ve got an existing fan base of 70,000 season ticket holders.
RUSH: For both the Jets and the Giants. Well, not 70,000 people because some of them own two or three tickets, but every one of those seats that’s currently held by a season ticket, you’re going to have to pay the team I don’t know what; 35 or $40,000 for the right to buy the season ticket.
RUSH: And this is not unique. This has happened in many other NFL cities and baseball cities because, look, somebody’s gotta pay for the revenue they’re paying the players. It boils down to the fans are going to pay it one way or the other in many, many ways. We’ll see what attendance does when these prices kick in.