Sept. 21 – NFL Player Strike

ryanBell Ringers, Economics(BR)

On Sept. 21, 1982, the National Football League players went on strike (Peyton Manning was just starting elementary school in New Orleans).

The 1982 strike lasted 57 days, and ended when the players revolted against their union.

Sports are big business. Cities compete for the right to host teams, and government officials seem to love to use taxpayer dollars to fund stadiums. The economic benefits of government-funded subsidies are a matter of some dispute, however.

The arguments in favor of taxpayer funding is that stadiums bring in revenue, in ticket sales, concessions, and other entertainment dollars. In economic terms, these are the “Things Seen” – to use a phrase by Economic journalist Frederic Bastiat. What is less often calculated, are the “Things not Seen”. When the ledger is balanced, it is far less clear that taxpayers benefit from such “investments.”

Some of the things not seen are losses of revenue to other businesses. When you have a game, for instance, less people go to the movies. So on net, people may not spend any more money. Yet no one talks about subsidizing movie theaters! While out of town people bring in out of town dollars, perhaps your fans travel more to spend money at away games, balancing things out. What is left, is the huge cost of stadiums and related infrastructure.

To highlight the absurdity of making economic arguments in favor of subsidies, check out this video:

  1. While watching the video, ask yourself, “Who benefits from subsidies for projects that are otherwise deemed uneconomical (such as sports stadiums)?” Who should pay?
  2. Why do you think such projects are so popular?

Image Citation:

13, Sept. 2018, Peyton Manning quarterbacking in a football game [Digital photograph].  Retrieved from <>.