Referencing Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch in his rant, HBO’s John Oliver took aim at publicly funded stadiums for pro sports teams during Sunday’s episode of Last Week Tonight.
“Two years ago, Detroit got approval to spend more than $280 million in taxpayer money on a new arena project for the Red Wings just six days after the city filed for bankruptcy, even though the Red Wings’ owner is Mike Ilitch, the founder of the Little Caesars pizza chain, who’s worth an estimated $5.1 billion,” said Oliver.
“That’s a little hard to swallow. I mean, sure, not as hard to swallow as a Little Caesars Crazy Bread, with an assortment of Caesar dips, but still pretty hard.”
The Red Wings aren’t the only NHL franchise to tap public funds. The Edmonton Oilers have a publicly funded arena under construction, despite owner Daryl Katz having an estimated net worth of $3.5 billion. (Back in 2012, Katz apologized for threatening to move the team, after negotiations with the city went sideways.)
Meanwhile, down the road in Calgary, the Flames are hoping to get a new rink for themselves, with the assurance that “we’re not going to sneak in here and steal money from the city.”
Related: Ground breaks on new Red Wings arena