Monday, May 21, 2007

Did you know...

...that Houston had a professional soccer team? They're called the Dynamo, and by some miracle, they managed to win the MLS championship last year. If you didn't know this, I think that the sports gods can somehow forgive you. MLS teams would have difficulty playing with Italian Serie C (ie, the equivalent of AA to Serie A's major leagues), and soccer, professional or otherwise, doesn't really register on the American sports scene.

I'm all in favor of Houston having a professional soccer team, and I'm glad that the Dynamo won the MLS championship; but I'm not so overjoyed that the powers that be think that they ought to get a $70 million stadium at taxpayer expense, nor am I amused that an idiot Houston Chronicle sports columnist thinks that the only reason to oppose a publicly-built facility of this magnitude is racism:

But in reality, the deal inflated not just hopes for Houston soccer fans, nearly half of whom are Hispanic, according to ticket-tracking research by the Dynamo.

It also blew up a dangerous political futbol that city leaders will be kicking around. City leaders will be watched closely on this one by many local minority groups hoping for inclusion among the big boys of sports...

The predominantly white fan base that follows the Astros got theirs. The largely white and black fan base of the Rockets got theirs, too.

What about Dynamo fans? What about the fan base that has been estimated at roughly 45 percent Hispanic, 45 percent white and 10 percent Asian?

Public funding of extravagant sports palaces is bad policy. It was when taxpayers ponied up to build Minute Maid Park, it was when they built Reliant Stadium, and it remained so when they build the Toyota Center. Not wanting to repeat the mistake with the Dynamo isn't racism; it's stopping the insanity.

(And I won't even mention that the 7,000-12,000 people that typically attend Dynamo games in Houston are hardly the same as the entire Hispanic community here.)

1 comment:

mamacita said...

I wish there were some way to look at the economics of the stadia that have been built. I think they have been promoted by their developers under some sort of Laffer-Curve mentality, but I'd like to know more.