Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Ravens Are Also Getting HD Video Boards and I Helped Pay For It

So I'm scrolling through all of my bookmarked sites that I read when I get home from work and I found this interesting tidbit from Pro Football Talk:

"Earlier this week, MDS pointed out that the Patriots will be showing the NFL Red Zone on their new HD video screens.  The Ravens are now following suit."

That's pretty cool. The Red Zone channel is just probably one of the greatest things that the NFL has come up with outside of the game itself. Red Zone is right up there next to NFL Films in taking the game of football and coming up with a way to make the game more entertaining. Nothing going on in the game we're initially covering? No problem, we'll just flip to another game (a game that 2/3 of the country isn't able to watch). Say, the Giants are in the Red Zone..... let's flip to that game. But what if the Giants are in the Red Zone and in another game the Texans are about to score? What then? Split screen baby, that's what!!!! And no commercials during the entire broadcast. Let me repeat that in bold: No Commercials During the Entire Red Zone Broadcast. That means all of your 1PM (EST) and 4PM (EST) games are commercial free.

So the Ravens got new video boards that will play the Red Zone channel during the games. Good times to be a Raven fan I suppose, maybe it will convince the Skins to head that route. Frankly, I don't care that much. I've only been to M&T twice (once in 2004 when the Ravens played the Chiefs and in 2008 when the Skins played the Ravens) and don't plan to go back unless the Skins play there again (or if SHD is paying for my ticket for a Raven's playoff game- hey, I like live football sue me).

So here's the rub:

"The new 24-by-100-foot HD boards at M&T Bank Stadium will display the live feeds and highlights from other games during Ravens games............The Maryland Stadium Authority and the Ravens shared the costs of the new HD screens."

So, if you live in Maryland........Congratulations, you just helped pay for the Ravens new HD video boards with your tax dollars. Which made me start to think about the amount of revenue the state and local counties make from these sport franchises. The Ravens are in Maryland obviously, but the Redskins play in Landover (MD) even though their base of operations is in Ashburn, VA. That seems to be a decent amount of tax dollars flowing into the state, yet is there any benefits to the tax payer? I mean if you live in Maryland, do you feel that your taxes have gone down since football has been here? The sales tax actually went up a percentage point in the last few years and the state has been in the red as well. Where's the money going?

I know that in order to have football here monies are required to pay for police, to pay for road improvements on the highways to get fans to and from the stadiums and to pay for other things. It's a necessary evil.  I know as a Redskins season ticket holder I also have to pay PG county amusement tax for my tickets and that pays for some of it. But that's my choice as a season ticket holder. I choose to see the Skins live, then I choose to pay taxes on that ticket and those taxes help to keep things moving in a safe and orderly fashion.

It also brings up the question of whether stadiums for a single sporting franchise should be publicly funded by the taxpayer. It just seems like a lot of funding for a minimal return (or is it a minimal return?). Plus, is it really fair for everybody to pay for a stadium that not everybody wants? What if you don't root for that team? What if you don't even like that sport? How is a thunderdome of any use to you?

This isn't a political debate (we are not going down that road on IIWII) but just some random thoughts/questions creeping in my head as I try to wind down from a very hellish day at my job by checking out the football sites. But the next time I get a Raven fan out there giving me grief about the Skins (they exist and love to ramble about how the Skins kept Baltimore from getting a football franchise in the past.......that's a long story for another day) or how the Skins suck my sole reply will be "You're Welcome for the video boards" and continue on my way.

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