“Sports teams are wealthy businesses with wealthy owners and they still get our help,” Oliver said.
One example: Oliver said that six days after Detroit filed for bankruptcy, the Red Wings hockey team received approval for $280 million in taxpayer money for a new arena. He pointed out that the owner, Little Caesar's founder Mike Ilitch, is worth $5.1 billion.
"That's a little hard to swallow," Oliver said. "Not as hard to swallow as a Little Caesar's crazy bread with an assortment of Caesar dips — but still pretty hard."
According to Oliver, teams not only receive taxpayer-funded facilities, but they also often get to keep the income from stadium naming rights, concessions, luxury boxes, and non-sports events held on the property. The Florida Marlins’ owner framed it candidly: “That’s the whole object of this, is to get more revenue.”
So where do all of these millions of dollars go? Oliver ran through a list of extravagant features including top-deck cabanas equipped with swimming pools, luxury boxes kitted out with snakeskin seats, and, at the Marlins’ new stadium in Miami, a wraparound aquarium behind home plate.
"Most new stadiums nowadays look like they were designed by a coked-up Willy Wonka,” Oliver said.
Watch the segment below, courtesy of HBO: