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John Oliver exposed the public funding fiasco behind America’s sports arenas — which now include offerings like elaborate fish tanks, snakeskin-covered seats and suspended swimming pools — on Sunday.
“Most new stadiums nowadays look like they were designed by a coked-up Willy Wonka,” he said on Last Week Tonight, noting that between 2000 and 2010, $12 billion was spent building 51 new facilities for professional sports teams. Plus, these teams keep the revenue from avenues like naming rights, concessions and income from non-sports events. “Why? Sports teams are successful businesses with wealthy owners, yet they still get our help. … [And] we replace stadiums even faster than we replace Spider-Men!”
Oliver explained that the direction of public funds for stadiums (away from hospitals and schools) results because teams claim they won’t be built otherwise — and threaten to leave if not replaced, as the Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers are currently teasing relocation to Los Angeles. “Pretending you’re poor is wrong. It wasn’t okay when Mary-Kate Olsen went through her hobo phase, and it’s not okay now!”
Despite claims of positive community impact, “stadiums very rarely revitalize their surrounding areas or create large numbers of surrounding jobs. … Teams get these deals because they know policies will capitulate and give them whatever they want.”
However, to make a change, Oliver then delivered a perfectly epic motivational halftime speech channeling those of Friday Night Lights, Remember the Titans and Any Given Sunday.
Watch the video below.
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