The new Republican tax bill has taken aim at a major perk for season ticket holders in basketball and football. In the bill introduced Thursday, the donation that is made to obtain the tickets will lose its tax deductibility.
There are other major changes buried in the bill, including the revenue obtained by college athletic departments and cities’ allowance to finance stadiums, which has long been a controversial practice. With the removal of some key tax breaks, both of these things would end up taking a hit.
Season tickets often come at a hefty price. Many schools require a large “donation” to the school to obtain the tickets. The reason for this is to create an incentive for the donor. Schools recoup the donations, and donors get up to an 80 percent tax deduction. Since tickets themselves are not deductible, it creates a workaround of sorts for ticket holders.
As for professional stadiums, the bill would make interest on bonds given to stadiums taxable. Many people take issue with how stadiums are financed. Some owners, such as Dean Spanos of the now Los Angeles Chargers, have held cities hostage with the taxes. George Holding, a Republican from North Carolina, has spoken out against the practice.
“Why should we, the people, incur a tax expenditure for stadiums?” he said. “If you give someone a tax preference and give them a non-taxable vehicle to finance one of those things, everybody pays for that.”
Oakland’s inability to finance a new stadium for the Raiders is the reason the team will be moving to Las Vegas. Raiders owner Mark Davis doesn’t have the money of, say, a Jerry Jones, who helped to finance the construction of AT&T Stadium for the Cowboys. Obviously this might affect smaller market owners, but it could help to appease residents in cities that have experienced changes in taxes due to these stadiums.