Chargers plan for November stadium vote by hiring a guy, doing stuff

San Diego voters could face “dueling stadium proposals” for the Chargers in November, reports NBC 7 San Diego. What does that mean? Here’s what NBC 7 says about it:

Now, San Diegans are even looking at the possibility of dueling stadium proposals.

(Read to bottom of article. Go back to top of article, read again. Scroll through article backwards, figuring maybe something will show up this way. Watch the damn video at the top of the article, cringing at what poor female TV journalists are expected to do to their hair. Finally give up any hope that this information is actually provided by NBC 7 San Diego, the headline notwithstanding.)

Anyway, Chargers owner Dean Spanos did hire a new point person to work on their stadium initiative: Fred Maas, who formerly ran the city’s downtown redevelopment agency, and so is well-positioned both to figure out how to run a development initiative campaign and to go through his phone contacts to figure out who to talk to to make this happen. (If nothing else, Maas almost certainly gets along with San Diego’s mayor better than their current stadium point man.) He’s also a guy who once said following one of the many, many stadium planning meetings that went nowhere (this was in 2011), “I’m not a person who just decides to lie down and throw up the white flag because we’ve been confronted with hurdles we never expected.” Stadium or no, Spanos should get some outstanding mixed metaphors for his money.

Here’s my latest conspiracy theory on why Stan Kroenke is moving the Rams to L.A.

L.A. Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne loves the design for the new Los Angeles Rams stadium in Inglewood — though somewhat hilariously, one of his favorite parts is that the translucent roof will make it usable for other events if and when pro football ceases to exist amid its brain-injury scandal — but is concerned whether the surrounding development will be as well-designed, and more important, whether anyone will be able to get there without fighting through traffic jams:

Though the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is reportedly weighing the option of extending a new rail link south to meet the complex, the pity — the absurd reality — of the relationship between the forthcoming stadium and the under-construction Crenshaw Line is that we are once again facing the prospect of a major landmark and a rail route coming tantalizingly close to each other without actually linking up. Call it the close-but-no-cigar school of regional planning. See the Gold Line and Dodger Stadium and the Green Line and LAX for earlier examples.

This brings up a potential answer to the puzzle of why on earth Rams owner Stan Kroenke is plunking down close to $3 billion to build a new stadium and get NFL permission to move his team there, when he could just build all the other stuff on his Inglewood site and presumably turn a much bigger profit. What if — stay with me now — he’s hoping to create a groundswell among folks like Hawthorne and urban planners to connect the stadium complex to the transit grid, thus increasing the value of the property exponentially? We already know he’ll be getting publicly funded shuttle buses from stadium parking lots, but maybe he’s dreaming bigger — a light-rail spur, a dedicated shuttle bus route to the train, something with pneumatic tubes. Maybe?

Okay, maybe not. But much as with Bruce Ratner’s Brooklyn Nets arena crusade, Kroenke’s Inglewood move only makes sense if he’s trying to leverage the presence of a pro sports team into something else. Neither I nor a lot of other people have figured out what yet, so a free light rail hookup is my best wild-ass guess, for today, at least. SoCal readers, please tell me if this is crazy, or just crazy enough to work.

Davis says parking sucks in Santa Clara, will keep looking for “right place” for Raiders

And the hating on Levi’s Stadium continues: Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis says his team won’t move there to share digs with the San Francisco 49ers because the parking lots are too small and traffic is too awful:

“I just don’t think it fits the Raiders,” Davis said Friday. “I’ve said it all along, that there are three words that mean something to me regarding a stadium location. That’s ingress, egress and parking. On game day, our parking lot probably holds the largest non-denominational gathering on Sunday morning that you’ll find. I’m not going to give that up. That’s part of the Raiders in-game experience.”

Given that Davis is in the middle of trying to negotiate a new lease with Oakland, you’d think he’d want to dangle at least the threat of a Santa Clara move to get better terms in his current location. But no, because Mark Davis is either terminally honest, terminally dumb, or just really can’t stand that new stadium the 49ers built:

“The next stadium we build will be around for the next 40 years or so, and that will be for the rest of my life,” Davis said on Saturday. “I want to make sure that, wherever we are, it’s going to be the right place. It can’t be just any place. It has to be the right place.”

At least the San Jose Mercury News’s Mark Purdy loves the Santa Clara stadium, spinning a remark that the head of the Super Bowl committee claims he heard from an unnamed NFL owner into a theory of how Santa Clara will get another Super Bowl sooner than later. Maybe the NFL owners have decided that if football players spend the whole game slipping and falling, at least they won’t be injuring their brains so much by getting tackled?

Sheldon Adelson is actually claiming tourists will avoid Vegas without a publicly funded NFL stadium

Whether because new boss Sheldon Adelson has commanded it or because the staff doesn’t want to be accused of giving it insufficient attention because of the new boss, the Las Vegas Review-Journal is clearly going to be giving tons of coverage to Adelson’s $1.2 billion football stadium plan. Up today: an article headlined “Lobbying for new Las Vegas stadium begins,” which is honest to god about two guys talking, but nobody knows what they said:

Steve Hill, the governor’s top economic development official and the chairman of a tourism infrastructure panel that will hear the stadium plan next month, said he met with Ed Roski, who owns Majestic Realty Co., a Sands partner on the project.

Roski could not be reached for comment, and Majestic Executive Vice President Craig Cavileer declined to comment Monday.

On Monday, Hill said he met with Roski while visiting the Los Angeles area last week. Hill said he meets with groups to “get a better understanding of projects” and discussed the tourism infrastructure committee process with Roski.

“I wasn’t looking for a reaction,” Hill said.

Yes, that’s Ed Roski of City of Industry vaportecture stadium fame, who is apparently part of Adelson’s stadium cabal. So he and a representative of the Nevada governor talked, and, yeah, well, that’s about it.

Anything else in this story worth actually paying attention to? There’s the revelation that Majestic is seeking to get state “tourism-related taxes” for the project (hotel, car-rental, and taxi taxes, as Adelson indicated earlier) approved at a special session of the state Legislature this summer. And Las Vegas Sands spokesperson Ron Reese said of the Hill-Roski meeting, “These are the type of discussions that potentially impact the future of tourism in Las Vegas,” so presumably that’s going to be their sales pitch: Nobody will come to Las Vegas without a new publicly funded football stadium. Maybe if they repeat it enough times, they’ll learn to say it with a straight face.

The Super Bowl and the NFL are both still awful for living things

I did not see the Super Bowl — I actually spent the day rewatching “League of Denial” with my son, after which he decided he’d rather play FIFA 16 on the PS4 than watch American football — so don’t have any actual Super Bowl-related content to use as clickbait, though I know that’s how the game is played. So instead, I’ll direct you to read this article about how the Super Bowl is bad for cities, or this video from the Wall Street Journal, or this two-year-old article by me that still holds true. Or maybe you’d prefer an article on how stadiums get to host Super Bowls just as rewards for teams building them even if they suck, or a list of all the specific ways that the host stadium for this Super Bowl sucks, helpfully titled “Levi’s Stadium is garbage”?

Hope you enjoyed the game! It would be sad if all those players‘ brain cells, not to mention those public tax kickbacks, had died for nothing.

Rays deliver stadium wish list: lots of space, ballpark village, oodles of public cash

In advance of their first stadium talks with Tampa officials on Friday — which were held, no joke, in a Rays team store — Tampa Bay Rays execs released their one-page wish list for a new stadium. The highlights:

  • “The site should be approximately 20 acres in size and support the geometry necessary to accommodate a professional baseball playing surface.” Duh, though not wanting to be wedged into a confined space could spell difficulties for Tampa’s plan to build a stadium on the site of a low-income housing project.
  • “Create an authentic sense of place around the facility and develop a come early-stay late culture around home games.” This is way easier said than done, especially since most baseball games take place immediately after work; it probably best translates as “We want one of them ballpark districts like all the other cool teams have.”
  • The stadium “should honor the rich history of baseball in Tampa Bay.” Presumably this means a statue of Evan Longoria, or maybe even Longoria himself, bronzed and placed out in front of the main gate.
  • “The ability to structure a public-private partnership that would support the construction of the Rays next generation ballpark is critical.” This is the big one (hence that “critical”), and translates as “gimme some money.” While Rays owner Stuart Sternberg would probably love lots of acreage and something allowing him to pretend that Tampa Bay has a rich baseball history, this is going to come down to a building where he can make the biggest profit, and the best way to do that is to spend the least out of his own pocket to begin with. And come on, right now the guy can’t even afford apostrophes, so take pity on him, okay?

As for the meeting itself, Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan said afterwards that “I’m cautiously optimistic that at the end of the day we’ll be able to find a long-term solution that’s  mutually beneficial for the entire Tampa Bay region,” which means exactly nothing. (Can you envision a scenario, including one where the two sides started grabbing Raymond bobbleheads off the shelves and flinging them at each other, where Hagan would not have said this afterwards?) While it may seem like the Rays stadium war has been going on forever, it’s only just begun in earnest.

Business leaders want Ohio to spend $5m to move Browns training camp from different part of state

We may have a new definition of chutzpah, courtesy of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam:

The Cleveland Browns and the Columbus business community want Greater Cleveland taxpayers to help pay $5 million for the Browns to move their training camp to a site on or near the Ohio State University campus…

The request from Columbus business leaders says the $5 million is to help pay for an “athletic practice training facility.”

It then describes the project this way: “The Athletic Practice and Training Facility will serve as a backdrop for collegiate athletic teams and community youth programs to utilize throughout the year. It will also attract professional athletic teams and franchises to our region.”

Translated: We’re going to disguise this as a tax request to help kids, but it’s really about the Browns.

The request was actually from the Columbus Partnership, a local business group, which submitted it as part of a list of funding requests for the state’s capital budget. (I know what you’re thinking: My state never asks me what I want its capital budget spent on! Yes, but you do not have the awesome clout and political mandate of the Columbus, Ohio business community.) Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Brent Larkin says that “the funds are being sought with Browns owner Jimmy Haslam’s knowledge and approval,” though he doesn’t cite a source for that other than that Haslam has been talking to Columbus about moving his team’s training camp there.

The gross part here, really, is that the state of Ohio would be paying to move a business operation from one part of the state — the Cleveland suburb of Berea, which has already spent $25 million on the Browns’ current training camp — to another. The economic war among the states is bad enough without the states themselves encouraging in-state skirmishes.

Kroenke seeks “significant” subsidies for suburban St. Louis development, has zero sense of irony

Deadspin says pretty much all that needs to be said about this story:

Stan Kroenke, Fresh Off Leaving St. Louis In The Lurch, Asks St. Louis For Tax Dollars

The slightly longer version: Rams owner Kroenke and his attorney Alan Bornstein are pursuing an 1800-acre development in the St. Louis suburb of Maryland Heights that would involve retail, entertainment, office, residential and sports (no indication what kind of sports, but MLS is sniffing around, albeit more downtown than in the burbs), and are seeking “significant” tax kickbacks, possibly in the form of tax increment financing.

Nobody on the Maryland Heights council seems to be batting an eye that this is the same dude who just moved the local NFL team just 20 years after it got huge public subsidies to relocate in St. Louis — which is not all bad, since you do want these things judged on their merits and not on how warm and fuzzy local electeds feel toward the development, but also not all good, since see above re: yanking a team not long after it got subsidies. (Twitter has predictably been less kind to Stan.) Meanwhile, at least one local thinks that the location is a terrible place for tax-subsidized development:

David Stokes, the incoming director for the Great Rivers Habitat Alliance, said he thinks it’s “preposterous” that the city would think of allowing such a project in a flood plain and support it with tax money, especially in light of the damage done in parts of the region by flooding in December.

“The idea that you would subsidize 1,800 acres of flood plain development, well, it’s always a terrible idea,” he said.

Glendale picks arena manager, still doesn’t know cost, because some things man was not meant to know

The city of Glendale finally announced its decision in the bidding to run the Gila River Arena now that the Arizona Coyotes management is out, and the winner is … AEG! Let’s have a big hand for the largest arena management behemoth in the nation!

And the question that everyone wants to know the answer to: How much will the city have to pay AEG to keep the lights on at the arena?

Glendale did not release AEG’s proposal, nor the proposals of the other bidders: Spectra by Comcast Spectacor, which formerly was known as Global Spectrum and is based in Philadelphia; and SMG, which is based in West Conshohocken, Pa., in suburban Philadelphia…

[Glendale City Manager Kevin Phelps] expects the city will have to subsidize the arena in the short term, but anticipates the amount will be less than the $6.5 million the city is paying to keep the venue operational.

So, wait, AEG didn’t actually include a price tag in its proposal? Or it’s some kind of floating number dependent on revenues or something? What the hell, Kevin Phelps, we’ve been following this fershlugginer lease battle for years now, we want some answers!

The city and AEG are expected to have something to submit to the city council within 60 days, so at least we should know a bit more by … eesh, April, seriously? The two parties would then need to hash out a lease deal with the Coyotes, at least for the short term, since any new arena the team has planned wouldn’t be ready for a while. (Yes, they could move back in with the Phoenix Suns, but that didn’t work so well the first time.) At this rate, Arizona really could become unlivable due to the heat before the Coyotes situation gets worked out.

Braves bridge design still lacks price tag, land approval, room for many buses

I am so, so sorry that I failed to keep you all abreast of recent developments with the Atlanta Braves‘ pedestrian bridge that no one knows how much it will cost or if they can get the rights to the land for it or if it’ll ever be built. And here when the bridge finally got it’s long-awaited approval:

[Cobb County] commissioners voted Tuesday night on the current proposal for the bridge crossing Interstate 285 to the Atlanta Braves’ new ballpark, which has been a lightning rod for more than a year…

A proposal put the cost for construction of the structure at less than $10 million, largely paid though a federal grant and the Cumberland Community Improvement District.

Okay, $10 million isn’t all that bad, considering what some earlier estimates had been. And at least this means Cobb County must have finally figured out that problem with getting rights to the land where the bridge would be built and

So… they actually haven’t figured any of this out. Last week’s county commission vote, it turns out, just approved the design of the bridge, not the cost or how to acquire the land — all that will get worked out later, and if it costs more than $9.8 million once they put it out to bid from contractors, they’ll (sorry) cross that bridge when they come to it. So this means nothing, basically.

As for that design, there is now an actual video rendering of how the bridge would appear if viewed from a helicopter flying dangerously low over passing traffic:

The first thing I notice here, aside from the fact that Braves fans appear to all be half-materialized cybermen, is that there’s only one lane for shuttle buses, meaning either each bus is going to have to wait while the previous bus heads back to pick up more passengers (which isn’t going to work too well) or there will need to be a huge stack of buses in the parking lot that will bring fans across before the game, then wait on the stadium side to bring them back to the lot afterwards (which also probably isn’t going to work too well). Building two lanes would be way more expensive, though, so this is what Braves fans are going to get — if they get anything at all, that is.