John Oliver questions why bankrupt Detroit would finance Red Wings arena

Leave it to John Oliver – not the local media – to question why a city would cough up $280 million in tax dollars and hand it to a billionaire to build what likely will be a very lucrative sports arena.

On Sunday, Oliver also pointed out on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” that the funding to Mike Ilitch came less than a week after the city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy.

“Sports teams are wealthy businesses with wealthy owners and they still get our help,” Oliver said.

The Red Wings arena is now under construction.




Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • banmar

    It Is a question that bears asking, considering that gas tanks are being held on to fire rigs with frayed seat belts and charter schools are failing kids as badly as traditional schools at twice the price.

  • Doodles

    Because they’re stupid like the my city —Glendale, AZ — with our Coyotes hockey arena.

    • banmar

      Oh yes, the fine tradition of hockey in the desert. (I used to go to Phoenix for work for 2-3 weeks every 6 weeks.)

  • Tom Gantert
    • Harry Palmer

      Had me up to: “The best systems of government encourage business and private investment with tried-and-true public policies: low taxes, fewer regulations, a fair and level rule of law and generally limited government.”
      Other than that, his observation that none of those other stadiums made any difference economically to the city is true, and this new arena won’t either…

  • The city blew an opportunity. They should have gotten the owners to agree to a $5 per ticket that would have meant over $150,000 per event going to help DPS, Over thirty games that converts to $4.5 million.