The Gulag Takes Over the Gridiron (Will Grigg)
Monday February 25th, 2013
In recent decades, professional sports franchises have increasingly relied on the sale of corporate “naming rights” – in addition to various kinds of government subsidies -- to pay for sports stadiums. This trend has caught on in college football, as well. As a result, a growing number of stadiums are named after companies that produce goods or offer services. Florida Atlantic University has sold naming rights to a company that warehouses convicts – and lobbies government to produce more of them.
The GEO Group, the nation’s largest private prison company, has bought the naming rights to the new 30,000-seat football stadium at Florida Atlantic University. On February 19 the company announced that its charitable foundation will pay $6 million to the university over a 12-year-period in exchange for the coliseum bearing the name “GEO Group Stadium.”
In a 2011 corporate report to the Securities and Exchange Commission, GEO described how its profits depend on the constant expansion of the prison population, and that it opposes “the relaxation of criminal or immigration enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction, sentencing or deportation practices, [and] … the decriminalization of drugs and controlled substances….”
Public incarceration is the only consistently growing sector of our increasingly socialized economy.