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Watch John Oliver Make a Sport of Taunting Taxpayer-Funded Stadiums

2 minute read

John Oliver is a self-professed sports fan. “I love sports,” he said on Last Week Tonight. “In fact, the only times I’ve cried as a grown man have been while watching actors playing coaches deliver inspirational speeches set to stirring music.” Oliver’s love of the game didn’t prevent him from making an impassioned plea to stop spending taxpayer money on lavish stadiums, though.

“The vast majority of stadiums are made using public money,” said Oliver, citing a report from 2012 that revealed the staggering statistic that “$12 billion [has been] spent on the 51 new facilities opened between 2000 and 2010.” And, as Oliver noted, most of them “look like they were designed by a coked-up Willy Wonka.”

Oliver had one question for these exorbitant expenses: Why are tax dollars being used to fund stadiums? “Sports teams are wealthy businesses with wealthy owners and they still get our help,” Oliver said. “Pretending you’re poor is wrong. It wasn’t okay when Mary-Kate Olsen went through her hobo phase, and it’s not okay now!”

To prove his point about how cities like Cincinnati and Milwaukee have bent over backwards to keep sports teams happy, Oliver noted that just six days after Detroit declared bankruptcy, they got approval to spend more than $280 million in taxpayer money for a new arena for the local NHL team — even though the Red Wings owner, Mike Ilitch, is the founder of the Little Caesar’s pizza chain and worth an estimated $5.1 billion. As Oliver noted, “That’s a little hard to swallow.”

See the 2014 World Cup Stadiums in Brazil

Arenas das Dunas
Arenas das Dunas City: Natal Constructed: 1972 Capacity: 39,000 Sergio Moraes—Reuters
Estadio Nacional
Estadio Nacional City: Brasilia Constructed: 2012 Capacity: 69,500 Ueslei Marcelino—Reuters
Arena de Sao Paulo
Arena de Sao Paulo City: Sao Paulo Constructed: 2014 Capacity: 61,600 Paulo Whitaker—Reuters
Arena da Baixada
Arena da Baixada City: Curitiba Constructed: 1914 Capacity: 38,500 Rodolfo Buhrer—Reuters
Estadio Castelao
Estadio Castelao City: Fortaleza Constructed: 1973 Capactiy: 60,300 Davi Pinheiro—Reuters
Arena Patanal
Arena Patanal City: Ciuaba Constructed: 2014 Capacity: 40,000 Joel Marcos—Reuters
Estadio Beira-Rio
Estadio Beira-Rio City: Porto Alegre Contructed: 1969 Capacity: 43,000 Edison Vara—Reuters
Arena Pernambuco
Arena Pernambuco City: Recife Constructed: 2014 Capactiy: 42,600 Paulo Whitaker—Reuters
Arena Fonte Nova
Arena Fonte Nova City: Salvador Constructed: 1951 Capacity: 51,700 Valter Pontes—Reuters
Arena Amazonia
Arena Amazonia City: Manaus Constructed: 2013 Capacity: 39,100 Bruno Kelly—Reuters
Estadio Do Maracana
Ricardo Moraes—Reuters

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