As tonight’s college football championship game between Alabama and Texas is rapidly approaching, the Cato Institute’s Neal McClusky points out how taxpayers are subsidizing the college football bowl season.
For starters, many bowls receive generous taxpayer subsidies. According to Mark Yost, author of Varsity Green, seven bowls received more than $21.6 million in government aid between 2001 and 2005. And the majority of bowls are tax-exempt, supposedly because they’re good for local tourism. That bowl executives often make big money and corporate sponsors get prominent advertising is apparently irrelevant.
And its not just the bowl games, but often times universities receive substantial taxpayer windfalls to help finance their stadiums.
Last year, it was revealed that legislators in New Jersey had sent millions of dollars in special grants to Rutgers for football-related capital improvements and stadium expenses. In Connecticut, state taxpayers bore the full, roughly $100 million burden for constructing UConn’s Rentschler Field, which opened in 2003.
And this year, the University of Minnesota played its first season in its brand-new TCF Bank Stadium, for which state taxpayers are shelling out about $137 million.
With the most exciting part of the college football season upon us, you’d better take in all the games. After all, you’re paying for them.