Page-3 | Meet the Mets and the Wilpon-Katz trio that drove them into the ground | Professional | NewJerseyNewsroom.com -- Your State. Your News.

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Meet the Mets and the Wilpon-Katz trio that drove them into the ground

The Wilpons-Katz group also got caught in the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme and the Mets ownership seems to be in financial straits. What makes the financial strain seem even worse is that the Wilpons and Katz have a partial ownership in a regional sports cable TV network with Time Warner and Comcast that makes the Mets franchise even more valuable and gives the owners access to cable TV monies that should be helping alleviate the financial situation with the team.

The franchise has been run into the ground despite a new stadium with a lot of public subsidizes and the keys to a cable TV network. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have a $160 million annual deal with Rupert Murdoch's FOX sports network in Southern California. There is money in regional cable TV networks for sports team but not for Wilpon-Katz-Wilpon to use for the Mets.

Should New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Bloomberg look into the Mets situation? Normally the answer should be no. It is a private business and the business should succeed and fail based on normal business practices. But considering the subsidies involved and no one knows just how much taxpayer money is going into the franchise, along with the cable TV law which benefits sports teams, the public should be informed of the Wilpon-Katz-Wilpon/government partnerships and what went wrong in the public’s investment.

New York State’s comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in 2010 there has been really no study ever conducted by a government to see whether or not municipal spending on sports facilities is worth the effort.

Apparently governments do not want to know what others do know.

The answer is no. They spending on sports facilities is not worth the cost.

Municipal spending on sports facilities helps sports owners who jack up prices for customers and in the process have segregated consumers by class with “the haves” buying club seats and luxury boxes and the “have nots” being able to afford a game or two a year in person and relegated to paying to watch games on cable TV.

One time George W. Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleischer was working as a consultant for Major League Baseball a few years back and in 2008, Fleischer justified the segregation policy. He said sports needed more and more money and that the big rollers had to shell out more money for luxury seating so that the average fan could witness a live game once in a while.

"At the new Yankee Stadium for example, they have seats that are very reasonably priced and then they have seats that are ridiculously overpriced. Well it is the people who are paying for those overpriced seats that are making the way for the $25 seats," said Fleischer in the 2008 interview. "So there are ways that people bring balance to the game and they do. Nobody is going to get a ringside seat, a front row seat at a cheap price anymore. That is the way sports have gone with the salaries being paid and the way commercial rates go. But there are plenty of other seats that are and that's the balance that every city has to reach."



 

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