Finally, politicians tell a team owner to shove their new arena proposal

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The stadium/arena swindle in pro sports has been going on for a couple decades now, but that kind of history couldn’t save Ted Leonsis’s plan for a new arena in Virginia for the Capitals and Wizards. Even with numerous studies and proof that publicly funded arenas or stadiums have no public benefit and only give rich billionaires more money while handcuffing state or local funds from doing something of public benefit, state and local governments usually roll over for this kind of thing. Perhaps no mayor or governor wants, “Team X left on my watch,” and given the brackish pool that most voters reside in, on some level it’s understandable how that could become a decisive issue in any upcoming election.

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But people and governments slowly seem to be catching on, even if that didn’t save the lawmakers of say, Nashville, from recently authorizing a giveaway to the Titans for a stadium they don’t need. And rare is the time that governments actually execute the will of the people. But yesterday in Virginia, the state Senate, and more accurately, a few democratic senators, told the owner of the Capitals and Wizards exactly what he could do with his plans to siphon off hundred of millions from the state.

The head of the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee, Sen. L. Louise Luca, essentially killed the bill for funding the arena project by refusing to even move it through her committee. So as far as the state senate is concerned, it’s just dust in the wind. The Virginia House still has a version of the bill, but even should it get out of that assembly, and that’s no guarantee, it’s not getting through the Senate. Virginia’s yobbo governor Glenn Youngkin is still trying to electro-shock the thing back into existence, but faces steep odds in both chambers that are basically out to stymie anything he might like. You may remember Youngkin from such episodes as, “Prostituting Himself To Daniel Snyder.” That turned out to be a great look for him.

Leonsis will hope that greasing more palms and making more donations to lawmakers will get him his arena campus so he can gorge on real estate deals that some other owners get. DC’s mayor is still dangling money for renovations to Capital One Arena, though what renovations to an arena that isn’t even 30 years old yet is another question for another day. Apparently destroying the character of Chinatown wasn’t enough.

The A’s move to Vegas isn’t on really shaky ground because of governments wising up as much as it is due to John Fisher’s incomprehensible incompetence, but at least all of that coming into clear relief sheds more light on what a scam all these stadium deals are. Perhaps Fisher being one of the world’s biggest dopes is the first domino in changing the momentum for taxpayers to be on the hook for something they receive literally no benefit from. Virginia is the first legislature to actually push back, but let’s hope they’re not the first.

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