We all pay for Magic's astronomical payroll

A few weeks ago, ESPN released some astounding figures about how much sports teams spend.

Your Orlando Magic ranked fifth-highest…in the world.

With an average of more than $6.3 million per player, our hometown team beat out 195 other NFL, soccer and baseball teams — not to mention every other team in the NBA, except the Lakers.

I suppose we could simply tip our hats to Rich DeVos and his $89 million payroll…if we weren't the ones subsidizing it.


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But we are.

That's because the NBA is a broken business model.

These private ventures simply cannot cover their own costs. So they get taxpayers to bail them out.

Nothing paints a clearer picture of that than the new arena.

Remember: The whole reason we built this thing was because DeVos claimed he couldn't make money in the old one.

Now, if your business was spending too much, you'd cut costs.

In the world of pro sports, however, you just stick it to taxpayers.

The Magic demanded a new $480 million arena. The politicians obliged. Ultimately, the team's total contribution of $60 million contribution represented less money than the team spends on player salaries in a single year.

But the ramifications of the big-spending ways don't stop there.

In fact, just the other day, I was discussing the intricacies of sports financing with another policy wonk…my 8-year-old son.

My son loves the Magic.

I don't mean that he merely likes the team. I mean that, in addition to watching the games and wearing the shirts, this kid checks out library books about the team's history and even saved up weeks' worth of allowance for one of those over-sized foam fingers.

Anyway, not too long ago, my Magic-loving son and I were inside the arena, ready for the game to start.

The speakers thumped. The lights flashed. And the flame-throwers roared.

My son's big brown eyes soaked up the sensory overload as he waved his home-made "Go Magic!" placard above his head.

"Dad?" he asked. "Why don't we go to every game?"

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