This May Be The Best Way To Get Cleveland's Sports Teams To Stop Sucking

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 6.03% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

From the Cuyahoga County email:

Cleveland is the only city in the country with three major sports teams that hasn’t won a championship in the last 50 years, and second place, Oakland, isn’t even close because they won a World Series 25 years ago. And each year, Cuyahoga County taxpayers provide millions of dollars to benefit our three major sports facilities and the teams that play there.
That’s why I recently announced that I will be submitting legislation to County Council to establish a “Win Tax” bonus that links 20% of public funding for our sports facilities to how a team performs on-the-field. No fans wear their hearts on their sleeves like Browns, Cavs, and Indians fans, and it’s important that we create financial incentives that to ensure the teams that perform well each season are rewarded.
We’re going to continue discussing this issue in the weeks ahead, and I hope you’ll share your thoughts with me. Visit my Facebook page or Tweet @EdFitzGeraldCE to let me know what you think.

I gotta say, I don’t care about sports but I think this is a great idea.  From my non-sportsing perspective, all I ever see is “Oh, we got close this year” followed by “Our team’s owners sold off all the good players, what the fuck?” And considering that my taxes go to subsidizing huge investments that are supposedly tourist attractions, I’d like some incentive that the owners want to win.
I know nothing more of the Win Tax beyond what’s been stated here, and obviously legislation is all about the fine details.  But I like the idea of it.  And I’m curious what sports fans think.

1 Comment

  1. Carl Wilt
    Jun 27, 2014

    As a life-long sports fan, and specifically a Cleveland sports fan of all three teams, I think this is a great idea. I do think that there should be some perspective, though.
    I will be honest. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has done what he can to win here. He’s paid the luxury tax many years to build a team. Granted, since LeBron left, the team has been horrible, but, it seems, not for lack of trying or spending. While there is ample cap space currently, it’s not like Free Agents in the NBA and breaking down the door to Cleveland to play for “us.”
    I have little doubt that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam needs prodding to build a winner. He spends, has demands, and is not afraid to take the heads of those that he feels don’t produce. (That may or may not be a good thing. There is something to say for stability within an organization.)
    Now, my beloved Indians, on the other hand, have a track record of not spending. The 90’s dynasty (or the closest thing we would call a dynasty when it comes to our baseball team that had a losing record for the previous 35 years prior to that), could never get over the hump. Despite financial advantages in a weak AL Central for much of the decade, and a significant amount of free cash (to go with a still MLB record of consecutive sellouts), the owners refused to spend to bring home a title. Need 1 more starter? Too bad…we won’t go below the $200 million profit we want this year. Your All-Stars hit Free Agency? Nope…let them go. We’ll bargain shop, because Dave Justice is just as intimidating as Albert Belle, right? Once they sold to the Dolans, it only got worse. They are regularly one of the lower pay rolls in the league. Even last year, the money they spent was only due to the increased MLB profit sharing from the new TV contract. Proportionately, they actually spent less than the previous year.
    If only for the Indians, I completely agree with a “pay for performance” aspect for public funding. Should a team/franchise be punished for 1 bad year? Of course not. Injuries happen…things beyond your control happen. But, when you have a record of repeat bad years….year after year…with no end in sight? As a sports team, you are not doing your part in helping the city economically, or socially. As such, the city should push those funds elsewhere.

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