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KCBS In Depth: The Business Of Sports

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KCBS In Depth
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Owners and players are at odds in the National Football League, and many people believe that is hitting sports fans the hardest.

Sports author and columnist Dave Zirin is one of those as he details in his latest book, “Bad Sports: How Owners Are Ruining The Games We Love.”

The book looks at big business and some of what he calls “the immoral practices” of owners in sports, including inflated ticket prices, publicly-funded stadiums and worrying more about profit than fan loyalty and wins and losses.

KCBS In Depth Interview With Sports Journalist Dave Zirin:

“It’s not how many people are going through the turnstiles,” Zirin said. “It’s your cable deal, public subsidies and luxury boxes.”

One of the issues facing California teams is whether to build stadiums or move franchises altogether, including the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland A’s in the Bay Area and the Sacramento Kings, who recently got a reprieve to stay in Sacramento for a year.

Zirin said in many cases, the Green Bay Packers franchise should be a model for those that are struggling or looking to move.

“What’s so interesting about the Green Bay Packers model is that they’re a team that’s actually owned by the fans. They have 112,000 owners so they’re not publicly owned,” Zirin said. “Tax dollars aren’t put into buying the Green Bay Packers. It’s privately owned but it’s also privately dispersed. And fans who buy a share of it do it for a privilege of knowing that they’re keeping the team in Green Bay and knowing that 60 percent of all proceeds from the stadium go directly back into the community.”

He said that Los Angles officials are currently looking at that same model in regards to the Dodgers

In regards to teams likes the A’s and 49ers ,who are looking to build new stadiums, he said a recent University of Maryland study found that stadiums are not the panacea when it comes to helping the local economy.

“The problem is that the data shows that when people put their leisure money in a given community on a game night, they tend to be people who would probably be spending it anyway in a different neighborhood,” he said. “It’s catering to a certain population that would be spending that money regardless.”

Which Zirin said is a problem Bay Area residents could be facing when it comes to their sports franchises.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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