American cities are shelling out big money for new sports stadiums — and John Oliver has one question: Why?
“Sports teams are wealthy businesses with wealthy owners and they still get our help,” Oliver said on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” Sunday.
In the segment, he looked at the excesses of new stadiums, from snakeskin seats to a swimming pool that overlooks the playing field.
“Most new stadiums nowadays look like they were designed by a coked-up Willy Wonka,” he said.
Those luxury features cost a lot of money, and cities have been paying much of it, coughing up $ 12 billion for 51 new facilities built between 2000 and 2010, Oliver said.
In one case, the Detroit Red Wings got approved for $ 280 million in taxpayer money for a new arena six days after the city filed for bankruptcy. As Oliver pointed out, the team’s owner is Little Caesars founder Mike Ilitch, who’s worth an estimated $ 5.1 billion.
“That’s a little hard to swallow,” Oliver said. “Sure, not as hard to swallow as a Little Caesar’s crazy bread with an assortment of Caesar Dips — but still pretty hard.”
Check out the clip above for the full explanation of how teams are using and abusing public funds to build massive new sports “theme parks” and how cities are getting little to nothing in return.
Be sure to stick to the end as Oliver uses a time-tested sports movie cliche to help make his case.