Sports reporter fight! Sports reporter fight!

So yesterday, Christian Bruey, the sports anchor for ABC affiliate WFTV in Orlando (Twitter bio: “Tweeting us? You may be on air!”), was all this:

And then someone told ESPN director Billy Corben this:

And then Corben went all no you didn’t:

And then, you know, Twitter stuff happened:

And so on. The apparent catalyst for this whole mess was a report by WFTV that Clarke, who you’ll recall as the guy with the crazy idea that if Orlando City F.C. gets public money for its stadium, the public should get a cut of the profits, too, is saying he won’t vote to approve the soccer stadium deal unless there’s a revenue-sharing component for the county. And with several other commissioners also opposed or noncommittal, stadium boosters are trying a full-court press (sorry, I don’t know the equivalent soccer term — full-pitch?) before Tuesday’s county commission vote. Which has Bruey all #Sad.

With his reporter hat back on, Bruey also tweeted that MLS president Mark Abbott will be in town on Monday to lobby county commissioners in advance of the vote. Because that’s why they pay league officials the big bucks.


12 comments on “Sports reporter fight! Sports reporter fight!

  1. Getting an odd sense of satisfaction from seeing my tweets on a FoS article, ha :)

    As Neil pointed out earlier in the year, the biggest question for the Christian Bruey’s of the sports media world isn’t whether a city should build these venues, but rather, how to pay for the venues that *must* be built. If anything, Bruey proved Corben’s (and my own) point about sports anchors and local TV channels basically serving as de facto lobbyists for their teams.

    When you have talking heads on the 6 o’clock news publicly putting county commissioners on blast for daring to do what’s best for their constituents, well…

  2. By the way, they just restarted the arguments on twitter, except there’s another WFTV sports anchor basically repeating the same themes parroted out by Bruey.

  3. Like the chatter about the Raiders and A’s being the “only teams left” in their respective leagues in “old” stadia, if talking heads keep repeating it often enough, even some who consider themselves skeptics might start to believe it.

    Research is your friend. And the enemy of franchise owners.

  4. I’ve seen this in Detroit and Minneapolis as well. The journalists cheerlead for new stadiums. People in Minnesota are smarter than Detroiters though. Most fans there haven’t wised up to the scam yet, unfortunately.

  5. “sorry, I don’t know the equivalent soccer term”

    Probably something like, “Playing a high back line.”

    Translation: you’re playing your defenders way up the pitch. It’s tougher for the opposition to break the offiside trap and allows you to play your forward players more forward, but it puts a lot of pressure on the defense when there is a counter. Teams like Barca play a high back line.

  6. Sound like someone’s bucking for a job at the SD Union-Tribune with all the major sucking up.

  7. Btw, here’s the complete version of the twitter war between Billy Corben and the WFTV anchors. It’s actually a pretty riveting read: http://storify.com/keiteay/billycorben-ethers-orlando-city-fans

  8. In all fairness, the funding that’s being voted on in a few days comes from the Tourism Development Tax (or something similarly named). AKA hotel tax. It’s a tax paid by tourists when they spend a night in a Central Florida hotel. The money can only be used for tourism-related projects. It can’t be used for schools, roads, or anything else like that. Only tourism related stuff. I’m personally not a huge fan of this provision, since even though I’m an Orlando City fan, I think education and infrastructure are a better investment than a new soccer stadium.

    Unfortunately, with the way the law is written, that can’t happen. The vote this week isn’t only about funding the soccer stadium. The $20 million the team is asking for is a fairly small part of the total package. The package includes renovations for the Citrus Bowl (football stadium where the Lions currently play), money for the convention center, and renovation/expansion of the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center.

    The team itself is putting up $30 million up front and $10 million in annual installments. Seminole County has already pledged $2 million of their own. Assuming the vote this week passes, that would put the total number at $42 million, which is still only half of the $84 million projected cost of this stadium. What I can’t seem to figure out and no one seems to be talking about is the other $42 million. Where is that money coming from?

    I’m fine with using tourism tax money to help build a stadium. That’s the kind of thing the tax was intended for. It’s the money that comes from other sources that has me worried.

  9. GogoZec: From what I’ve read, Orlando and Orange County would both chip in with $20 million each, then OCSC would commit up to $30m + whatever other payments they’ll make, plus the Seminole County contribution.

    Short of all parties actually incorporating the aforementioned Pete Clarke plan, this is probably as good a deal as the city of Orlando (and maybe the state of Florida) will ever get as far as public funding for a stadium goes. On the flip side, every time Orlando & Orange County agree to a deal like this, it diminishes the already fleeting hopes of TDT actually being used on the residents’ needs, rather than the visitors’ wants.

    I’m willing to bet that if the TDT did already fund those things, then even some OCSC fans might have found it difficult to support this deal… but that’s obviously neither here nor there.

  10. “Unfortunately, with the way the law is written, that can’t happen…”

    From the ORANGE COUNTY TOURIST DEVELOPMENT TAX INFORMATION website:
    “Expenditures for the first four cents are limited by Florida Statutes to the acquisition and operation of convention centers, sports stadiums and arenas, auditoriums and museums[!!!!!]*, promotion and/or advertisement of tourism…”
    [*]=my interjection

    So according to the way the law is written there is an alternative ‘IF’ we even need to get anything at all in this county: A MUSEUM. That can get a tremendous return on investment not only from the education and services it can provide for our children in the county but from revenue profits (as approximately 850 million visits each year are paid to American museums, more than the attendance for all major league sporting events and theme parks combined- 483 million in 2011). It will also be something you don’t’ have to hunt for tenants for the remainder of the fiscal year to make the venue economically sensible, it’s schedule is year-round!

    That is an ‘alternative’. Just like the ‘alternative’ the county powers will surely look for when this stadium thing is voted in and later cannot make proper bond payments with the cited revenues promised by MLS. Then expect their ‘alternative’ to be enacted, a referendum to raise Property Taxes in Orange County for the payment of bonds for construction of TDT funded projects.

  11. That’s really interesting. I did not know that. Thanks for clarifying it. And who knew museums could be so profitable? I guess being open pretty much every day works in their favor. I wouldn’t mind seeing some cool museums pop up around Orlando. This city can definitely use some culture.

    And if only the first four cents of every TDT dollar is earmarked for tourism development, why isn’t some of that other 96% of funds being used for literally anything else? That’s some bullshit. I don’t have a problem with tourist tax money being used to fund a sports venue which will no doubt attract some more tourism to the city, but if most of that money is actually available for non-tourism related purposes, we need to fucking use it. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I learned something new today.