Well, in a
libertarian society, there would be no income tax or direct
taxation of any kind. Without this state-sanctioned theft
and force, people would possess more funds, which they in
turn would be free to donate to their favourite causes.
These could include a sports centre for their local
community, or equipment for a martial arts club, or boats
for a rowing club. In general, the enlarged
charitable/voluntary sector in a libertarian society would
help cater to the financing of smaller sports. Local
communities could all pitch in to purchase playing fields.
Maybe such funding could be a condition of moving to a new
neighbourhood. Who really is to say what scenarios would
occur if the free market funded minority sports?
The governmental funding of sports in certain cases amounts
to "welfare for the rich." In the United States, there are
many examples of wealthy individuals receiving government
money to construct stadiums. Qwest Field, the home stadium
of the Seattle Seahawks was partly financed by taxation.
This occurred in spite of the fact that the owner of the
Seattle Seahawks, Paul Allen, is a billionaire, and one of
the world's richest men. Clearly, there was no real need for
government funding in this instance. Allen did provide 30%
of the financing for the stadium, but there is no excuse for
the wealthy to have recourse to such governmental aid.
In the UK, Wembley
Stadium's re-construction is being partly funded by the
Department for Culture, Media and Sport. At the time of this
writing, the date of opening for Wembley Stadium is unclear
even though the stadium was due to be completed in May 2006.
This simply demonstrates that government programmes and
policies seldom turn out as intended, no matter how
benevolent the intentions of politicians are. (One can only
look at a lack of tangible enhancement in the NHS, for
example, as further proof of this.)
Government isn't even
needed to construct stadia. During the 2005/06 Premiership
season, Manchester United increased the capacity of their
Old Trafford ground without any government expenditure. In
the summer of 2006, Arsenal will move into the new Emirates
Stadium, which is being financed entirely by the private
sector. Private bodies have an incentive continually to
update and upgrade their stadia, since they are catering to
the comfort and pleasure of their supporter base.
Sports are an enjoyable
aspect of many people's lives, right across the world. It
would be a shame for them to disappear or diminish in
importance, yet precisely because of their popularity, we
needn't worry about the financing of sports in the absence
of government subsidies. Generally speaking, human beings
like to preserve the things they cherish or are fond of. I
believe this aspect of human nature can be relied upon when
it comes time to finance sports in a free society.