Cleveland. For the love of all that is holy and important. Stop agreeing to pay for all capital repairs for your sports teams. It is costing you SO MUCH MONEY. Your city already has so many financial issues to worry about. Will your local banks go bankrupt? Will your local health centers continue to lose $200 million a year?
But don’t worry about their local sports teams. The Cleveland Cavaliers are worth over $2 billion. Their owner, Dan Gilbert, is worth at least $18 billion. Two years ago, the Cavs fought with the city over whether to split the cost of a $185 million dollar upgrade to Quicken Loans Arena. The city eventually agreed to fund $70 million of it. And that was that. No more handouts. Until now.
Apparently, the Cavaliers believe that their elevators need to be replaced, and their broadcast equipment is too old. So, they aren’t asking but telling the city that they must pay for it all since they are responsible for it.
“The Cleveland Cavaliers are seeking more than $28 million to make upgrades at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse … Under the terms of the lease agreement, (the city) is on the hook … for all major capital repairs to the facility over $500,000” – Cleveland.com, 05/18/23
One of the many problems with this request? The city doesn’t have the money for it. The three professional local teams in Cleveland each have $92 million (from a county sin tax) that pays for capital repairs to these buildings. The Cavaliers are already at $82 million, so that leaves just $10 million left for them.
The city can’t just hand over the remaining $10 million either. Why? Because the other local teams also need absurd upgrades. The Guardians are not being left out of this conversation.
Just last year, the city signed a $435 million lease with the team. Included in that agreement was $100 million for immediate capital improvements. Well, guess what? If the Guardians request any more money from the city, they will have gone through that $100 million and the city “will need to ask for more public funding to cover those expenses as well”.
Hold on for a second. Let’s take a step back. What was the last so-called “capital repairs” project that the Guardians made the city pay for?
“In February, the board approved an extra $1.3 million for The Guardians to install padded chairs behind home plate at Progressive Field as part of a larger lower bowl improvement project that is costing twice what was budgeted” – Cleveland.com, 05/18/23
Wait, what? That is a capital repair? According to the team, “everything they’ve identified on their list so far is already past its useful life”. If that wasn’t bad enough, the team has already said that they want to extend the cushions even further out. What a joke. But let’s save the best for last. The baseball team also has a “list of capital repairs it wants Gateway to pay for”, so get ready to pay up!]
Did we mention that the Browns will likely want a new multi-billion dollar stadium soon? Even though local taxpayers are paying millions to upgrade walkways at the current stadium. This came a year after the Browns needed even more millions from taxpayers for other capital repairs that the city is mandated to pay. You can tell these repairs were important as the Browns claimed that these were needed to “preserve” the stadiums “usefulness”.