Thursday, January 14, 2016

Never Get Too Attached

As much as I enjoy needling Packers fans for their blind and usually over-the-top devotion to the franchise, I appreciate the fact that they will never have to worry about their team packing up and leaving town.  Those closets full of Packers t-shirts, Packers sweatshirts, Packers jackets, Packers hats, Packers stocking caps, Packers Zubaz pants, Packers mitten, Packers earrings and Packers scarves will never have to be tossed in the Green and Gold trash cans because they are now the Los Angeles Packers.

Fans in St Louis, San Diego and Oakland are not so lucky.  We know for sure that the Rams are moving to LA and in a bizarre arrangement, the Chargers get first dibs on joining them--followed by the Raiders.  How would you like to be in San Diego or Oakland right now, knowing that your favorite team is more than ready to drop you like a bad habit for the "new revenue streams" of another city?  That really gets you excited for the NFL doesn't it?  (Of course, since the NFL exists only to feed America's fantasy football addiction, "my team" is really nothing but the guys you have active for that week--and it really doesn't matter where they play.)

Green Bay's community-owned status doesn't make it immune to the same sorts of power plays that teams with actual owners have used.  The Pack went to the taxpayers to fund the renovations and expansions of Lambeau Field just like all of the "greedy owners" have done in so many other cities.  They just didn't have the "I get a new stadium and I get to keep all of the revenue or I'm moving the team" threat to use on the voters.  Instead, they took advantage of the aforementioned blind loyalty and told Brown County residents "give us more money or we are going to suck forever--despite billions in revenue sharing from the league and a salary cap".

Since then, the Packers have parlayed that infusion of tax revenue into success not only on the field but off as well.  The team is becoming one of the largest landowners in Green Bay--having purchased private property extending from Lambeau Field west all the way to Interstate 41--with plans to develop an "entertainment and shopping complex" that would be fairly unique in the league.  It will be interesting to see if the team comes back to the taxpayers again in the future--when further amenities or seating needs to be added to Lambeau to "enhance revenue streams"--and to make sure the "team can remain competitive" for another couple of decades.

Meanwhile, St Louis residents will have more time now in the fall to pat themselves on the back for being the self-anointed "Best Baseball Fans in the Country".

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