Am I being unfair? Consider this, from the well-presented, unaffiliated "Slots for Mario" website:
Whether a hockey fan or not, it’s hard to argue the positive effects of having a professional hockey team in Pittsburgh. The Greater Pittsburgh Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates that the Pittsburgh Penguins generate over $71 million per year for the region in taxes, ticket sales, food, parking, hotel, and area businesses. But it’s not just about the local economy; it is also the civic impact and national status as a major city with major amenities. Without a new arena we risk the possibility of the Penguins not being able to compete in Pittsburgh. Considering all of the economic woes that the region has gone through in the last 30 years, we can ill afford to loose a major league sports franchise, especially when other bigger cities around the country are working so hard to get one.
Well, I can argue with it. Can you name a major city with major amenities that has no NHL franchise? I can. Seattle. San Francisco.
Revenue boost? Ask the North Shore neighbors of PNC Park whether that ballpark -- with far more home dates per year than an NHL team ever plays -- has matched "regional economic impact" forecasts.
Hockey fans are passionate, there's no doubt about it, but hockey just isn't a major sport. And even if it were, no city with hopes for rebuilding its economy should pin its hopes on sports teams. That's borrowing against an uncertain future in order to hold on to memories of glory.
If the Penguins have a long-term future as a business, then the Penguins should be able to finance a new arena for themselves. Have them stay, but have them pay their own way. Not only is there no room for local public funding in this project, there should be no room in it for state public funding. Those are my tax dollars you're playing with Mario, and I want them back.
And don't get me started on linking the Pens to slots. Slots are a bad idea to begin with, but that train seems to have left the station. But state-sanctioned gambling and sports? Are you kidding?
Link: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05347/621499.stm ("Onorato: Penguins can still be saved; Says he, O'Connor working on a plan")
Link: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05345/620698.stm ("'Slim chance' Penguins will stay in Pittsburgh, Lemieux says; Owner cites lack of progress on new arena")