As legislators look to use tax subsidies to punish NFL owners for their teams’ national anthem protests, experts say eliminating those subsidies would be tough to do for existing incentives but could impact future stadium projects.
Lee Igel, a professor at New York University School of Professional Studies’ Tisch Institute for Sports Management, Media, and Business, told Tax Analysts on September 26 that while it would be possible to withhold future subsidies for professional teams and stadiums, it would be difficult to repeal current incentives.
Igel said an opportunity, such as negotiating a stadium lease agreement, would need to be found, because existing agreements are usually “pretty well locked up” and would have to be undone. He said taking away existing subsidies “would take a number of legal maneuvers over time” and would likely result in lawsuits.
In Tennessee’s General Assembly, Rep. Judd Matheny (R) in a September 26 statement ordered that a bill be drafted and introduced to “stop any and all future economic incentives to professional and amateur privately owned sports teams in Tennessee.” Under the bill, teams would have to reimburse the state for traffic and security costs for functions at their privately owned venues, it said.