I am BARRY HESS > Blog

Bloomberg's Billionaire Boondoggle

And you think Minnesota has issues. I will agree that the deals secured by Jerry Jones and sought by Robert Wood Johnson IV are orders of magnitude more despicable than what is going on in Minnesota. At least Minnesota could now support a stadium financing bill without being worried that they got screwed any worse than other states/cities.

In a court affidavit, Mr. Russianoff, the staff attorney for the Straphangers Campaign of the New York Public Interest Research Group, said: "This proposed sale of a $923,400,000 asset by a New York State public authority for a present value of $210 million [later increased to $250 million] is a disgrace and a violation of the M.T.A.'s duty to act in the best interest of the people of the state of New York and of our public transit system." That the M.T.A., which is hemorrhaging cash, is ready to give hundreds of millions of dollars to the Jets is beyond absurd. Over the past couple of years it has raised fares, reduced service on subway and bus lines, closed dozens of subway token booths, cut back on maintenance and cleaning, and treated its riders to a long succession of major fires, foul-ups and breakdowns.

But at least J-E-T-S fans will be treated to a wonderful stadium experience:

The second thing [you need to know] is that hardly any of the ordinary taxpayers and transit riders subsidizing this glittering playground on the Hudson will be able to see the Jets play there. This is not like Yankee Stadium, where you can actually go to a game. Unless you've already got season tickets (or unless you're wealthy and can afford one of the staggeringly expensive luxury suites), you're out of luck. The Jets' Web site couldn't be clearer about this. Under the heading "Waitlist Policy," it says: "The New York Jets are sold out on a season ticket basis. There are NO individual game tickets available. If you are not a season ticket holder, you may join our Waitlist. There are currently over 10,000 people on our Waitlist." You have to pay $50 a year just to be on the waiting list. The wait is approximately 10 years. And after waiting 10 years, the maximum number of tickets you can buy is four. Does this sound like a good deal for a stadium that you're helping to pay for?

It’s amazing to me that the government is elbows deep in something it shouldn’t be involved in (RE: past steroid use in sports) while completely ignoring the monopolistic leverage franchises are exploiting in cities across the country.