Admitting that he loves sports –saying the only times he cries is when watching “actors playing coaches deliver inspirational speeches set to stirring music” — Last Week Tonight host John Oliver decried the “ridiculous” stadiums being built for billionaire professional sport team owners with taxpayer dollars.
Noting that newer sport stadiums have become garish pleasure palaces — showing clips of stadiums with plush sky boxes featuring snakeskin-covered seats, swimming pools, and even a Florida stadium featuring a massive fish tank built behind home plate — Oliver pointed out that the stadiums are increasingly being built for billionaires with taxpayer money, resulting in school cutbacks and curtailed social services.
“The vast majority of stadiums are made using public money,” said Oliver, pointing to a 2012 report showing “$12 billion has been spent on the 51 new facilities opened between 2000 and 2010.”
“And most of them look like they were designed by a coked-up Willy Wonka,” Oliver wryly pointed out.
In the case of Detroit, the cash-strapped city approved $280 million in taxpayer money for a new stadium for the NHL Red Wings, despite the fact that Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch, founder of the Little Caesar’s pizza chain, is worth an estimated $5.1 billion.
“That’s a little hard to swallow,” Oliver said. “I mean, sure, not as hard to swallow as Little Caesar’s Crazy bread with an assortment of Caesar dips — but still pretty hard”
Oliver also pointed to the number of NFL team owners (currently standing at three) threatening hometown fans and politicians with pulling up stakes and moving to Los Angeles if taxpayers don’t shell out hundreds of millions dollars for a new stadium to house their privately held, and incredibly valuable, football teams.
Of particular note is the San Diego Chargers using a perfectly awful hip-hop video to rally fans to pressure local politicians in California’s second largest city to save the team from LA — at a cost to taxpayers of an estimated $900 million dollars.
Watch the video below from Last Week Tonight: