Saturday, October 18, 2008

Time for a Skybox Bailout

Because the federal government has already committed itself to bailing out Wall Street, it will soon find itself obligated to bail out many of the ancillary enterprises that depend upon Wall Street for survival. One of these is sports franchises. The government will be forced to lease the skyboxes at stadiums that were previously occupied by brokerage houses, commercial banks and investment banking firms. This is not an eventuality that either Henry Paulson or Ben Bernanke had envisioned when they first floated the subject of a bailout. These guys just can't keep their eye on the ball.

One can readily imagine the hue and cry that will greet the announcement that the Treasury Department has taken over a dozen skyboxes at Arrowhead Stadium and another dozen at Coors Field. Yet the alternative is unacceptable. Without the cash generated by luxury boxes, numerous sports franchises will go under. This would further undermine the public's mood, particularly in smaller cities, where watching ice hockey is literally the only way to have fun on a cold Friday night in February.