Free tickets helped Cardinals build relationships with Arizona legislators


The Arizona Cardinals’ stadium was built with nearly $350 million from taxpayers, which means the state legislature gets to make some of the decisions about how the stadium is used. The Cardinals haven’t always liked the decisions that legislators have made.

So in an effort to get the legislature to to go along with the team’s wishes, the Cardinals have given legislators free tickets.

The Arizona Republic has a look today at the practice of giving tickets to legislators in Arizona, which Cardinals spokesman Mark Dalton said was done to “build a better relationship” with lawmakers.

Of course, lawmakers aren’t supposed to do favors for businesses because they’ve received free products from those businesses and therefore developed a “better relationship.” They’re supposed to represent the interests of the people who elected them. But it will come as no surprise to anyone who follows American democracy that it doesn’t always work that way.

In fact, from the Cardinals’ point of view, giving away free tickets was necessary in large part to keep up with the Fiesta Bowl, which has been embroiled in a scandal that involved, among other things, giving politicians free tickets. The Cardinals lost a battle with the Fiesta Bowl over use of the stadium for the 2007 BCS Championship Game and subsequently took an “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” philosophy regarding the Fiesta Bowl’s practices toward state legislators.

“It was clear to us, particularly after the 2005 legislative session pertaining to the BCS game, that the team’s relationship with the Legislature was not as strong as it could be,” Dalton said.

None of this is particularly surprising. But it would be nice if the Cardinals would follow the lead of the Phoenix Coyotes and Phoenix Suns, who told the Arizona Republic they do not give free tickets to legislators, with one executive calling it “a bad idea.”

27 responses to “Free tickets helped Cardinals build relationships with Arizona legislators

  1. Free Cardinals tickets can’t get you THAT much political clout. Maybe get rid of some old parking tickets or something.

  2. Bribes are always gratefully accepted by our politicians. Kudos to the Cardinals for helping pervert and undermine our government.

    USA … USA … USA …

  3. Those legislators can teach the Cardinals quite a bit about football.

    Why, I overheard one of them explaining to the Bidwills the other day how a ‘kickback’ worked.

  4. This is the same state that gave the country both Barry Goldwater and Morris Udall but since then, well, Sarah Palin’s godfather, Dan Quayle’s son and Sheriff Joe so we can’t be surprised.

  5. Arizona is Dallas Cowboys country. The Cowboys travel to AZ on 12/4. Watch, they’ll have more fans in the stadium than the Cardinals will.

  6. While there is crooked politicians everywhere…the wild wild west Arizona tops them all…..concealed weapons abound there thanks to the NRA…..who was that crooked banker that stole millions from the S&L’s….crooks have fertile ground there!

  7. I suppose the joke would be that the tickets would actually have to be worth something to make it corruption…but in all seriousness, this is the sort of thing that has pervaded politics on both sides of the aisle and is costing the taxpayers dearly. Corruption and a successful democracy are incompatible.

  8. But it would be nice if the Cardinals would follow the lead of the Phoenix Coyotes and Phoenix Suns-
    The Coyotes will be relocated to Quebec and the Suns have not sniffed a championship in almost 20 years, while the Cards were in the Super Bowl 2 years ago!

  9. What do you expect from a team that stubbornly holds on to a stolen championship (1925)?

  10. Best government money can buy. What’s reaslly amazing is, the politicians don’t see anything wrong with this.

  11. Giving free tickets to politicians shouldbe illegal since the tickets are to see the Cardinals. I liken that torture to giving a really hairy guy a coupon for a free wax job

  12. “who was that crooked banker that stole millions from the S&L’s”

    Neil Bush was in on the looting too.

  13. Once again proof the USA taxpayers are funding NFL stadiums for the Greedy NFL owners, like I have stated multiple times, we the people of the United States of America need to stop the rich from stealing from the poor and middle class. Our society is becoming like the ANCIENT ROMAN EMPIRE…The Gladiators (NFL) rule, more than are our children’s education, healthcare, and our elderly poor. Disagree all you want, but it’s true.

  14. It’s not like the Cardinals could do anything right by doing something ethical.

  15. When working on a government contract, if I accept a gratuity from a supplier (even something as seemingly innocuous as a lunch), I get fired.

    A few football tickets slipped into your pocket for a vote? Peanuts.

    Look at guys like Donald Gips who raises a bunch of money for a presidential campaign and he is rewarded with $14 million in taxpayer funded stimulus money.

    It’s pervasive – but that doesn’t make it right.

  16. There is corruption throughout government and business. People complain that the legislators take gifts/bribes for political favors, yet those same people are fine with “their guy” wheeling/dealing to bring unnecessary stuff (funding for pet projects) to their districts for other political favors known as votes. It’s a damn shame that honest people are in the minority. Too many people are only “looking out for #1” and everyone else be damned.

  17. AS I recall the bargain proceeded like this: Legislators get free tickets, and Cardinals must start Max Hall. Result: two losers.

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