Rangers owners get $500m to tear down 22-year-old stadium for lacking a/c, oh democracy

So in those other election results:

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, the [San Diego] Chargers received only 43 percent approval on Measure C, the team’s $1.8 billion downtown stadium and convention center annex that proposed raising hotel taxes from 12.5 percent to 16.5 percent to secure $1.15 billion in bonds to help pay for the project.

We already pretty much knew that was going to happen: That the Chargers stadium plan fell so far short was a slight surprise, but it never had any hope of getting close to the required two-thirds majority, and even 50% was probably out of reach. So anyway, what about the other stadium vote, the one whose outcome was still in doubt?

On Tuesday, voters in Arlington, Texas, approved a measure to contribute up to $500 million toward the cost of a new ballpark for the Texas Rangers. … The ballot measure passed by a margin of 60 percent yes to 40 percent no.

That’s also to be expected, once you take into account that the pro side (i.e., mostly the Texas Rangers owners) was outspending the anti side (a handful of volunteer activists) by more than 200-to-1, and anything over a 100-to-1 margin usually guarantees a victory. Still, as of just a few days ago it looked like a toss-up, and … nah, nobody wins against that kind of spending firepower, especially not in Texas.

So Chargers owner Dean Spanos will now be deciding whether to accept a lease from Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke to be tenants in Inglewood, or whether to try to fight an uphill battle to somehow get stadium subsidies in San Diego. (Or to stay in San Diego without subsidies HA HA HA HA just kidding.) And Texas Rangers owners Ray Davis and Bob Simpson will be getting a half-billion-dollar check from Arlington taxpayers so they can tear down a 22-year-old stadium because it doesn’t have air-conditioning. The American experiment is going great.

Share this post:

28 comments on “Rangers owners get $500m to tear down 22-year-old stadium for lacking a/c, oh democracy

  1. Look for the league to extend both the Chargers and Raiders options for Inglewood for one more year. This gives:

    1- Chargers opportunity to work deal with SD and let them play at the Murph even if they eventually move to Inglewood (LA Coliseum & Rose Bowl are not temporary options).

    2- Raiders leverage with either Las Vegas or Oakland (less likely). With 2 year option at Oakland Coliseum, no rush

    1. If they did that, they’d have to give Stan Kroenke half of his relocation fee back for him to agree to it. (I’m exaggerating, but only a little.)

      As it is, the Chargers have until 1/2017 to accept or reject, then the Raiders have until 1/2018. So the Rams are trying to open a stadium in 2019, and re-establish themselves in the meantime, while the NFL drags the Team #2 situation out for as much as two years. And the Rams are prohibited from selling any PSLs, ads, naming rights, etc. until that’s settled.

      To say the least, that’s not an ideal situation for the Rams to build a fanbase and market a new stadium. Extending it a year would push it to 1/2019, and then you’re bumping up against the stadium’s opening date. The Rams would be prohibited from selling PSLs/suites/ads etc. until possibly 6 months before the stadium opens.

      I don’t see that happening, but hey, anything’s possible in Goodell’s NFL.

      1. “And the Rams are prohibited from selling any PSLs, ads, naming rights, etc. until that’s settled.”

        I don’t think that’s correct. The Rams can’t sell PSLs until 2017 unless they bring in a second team before that. But I haven’t seen any reports that the Chargers and Raiders dragging their heels can delay those sales any further.

      2. I believe there is some vague language in the Chargers agreement with the NFL that allows them to extend one additional year to January 2018 if they “are making progress in San Diego.” Of course, in NFL-ese this can mean anything. in any case, the Chargers have lost a whole lot of leverage as the result of this road.

          1. Correct. I would think that would be a big factor in the decision Dean Spanos has to make by the end of the year. And since Dean is so good at making decisions…

            “Here, Dean, take this bucket of paint and cover the floor.”

            “Okay, thanks! I’ll start and the door and work my way into that corner over there.”

  2. Neil maybe you covered this in your book and I’m sorry if you did, but I think there’s a large issue here that rarely gets discussed. Why do these leagues allow owners who have barely enough money to buy a team, buy the teams??? I think all sports owners should be like Peter Guber & Joe Lacob. They have a perfectly good arena in Oakland, but want to be in the bright lights of San Francisco so they’re going to build one there themselves. In the real world if you have just enough money to buy a house you’re neighbors aren’t going to feel bad for you if you don’t have enough money left over for furniture. And once you decide your house is too old or small and you want a new one you do what the rest of America does. You get a better job or save up until you have enough money. What am I missing here?

        1. You weren’t reading this site, then:


    1. In the real world, your neighbors don’t worship you, or wear T-shirts with you on them, or spend their spare time and money on you, or derive a large part of their social identity from the fact that you’re their neighbor.

      If all that were the case, and you grumbled about moving away because your house is falling apart, they’d probably chip in to fix your house or build you a new one.

  3. Is there any scenario in which the Raiders or Chargers move to Los Angeles for the next season? With the Raiders have a strong team and the Rams stinking, it would seem like Davis could make a bigger splash in LA before the Rams get too settled.

    1. Raiders are near certain to remain in Oakland next season. They have two 1-year lease options with Oakland Coliseum. Without extension, Raiders have until 2018 to decide on Inglewood. Their preferred alternative is Las Vegas.

      Barring extension, the Chargers Inglewood window is currently set to close in January 2017. Even if Spanos eats crow and decides to make a go with Kroenke, there is probably no place for Chargers to currently play in LA. The Coliseum Authority/USC says the stadium can’t host a third team and the Rose Bowl Authority has said no to hosting NFL, even temporarily.

      1. Coliseum Authority/USC definitely wants a 2nd team next year. They are planning a $270 million renovation replacing every seat and reducing capacity. The best 10,000 seats are being turned into 2,500 seats in luxury boxes. Trojans only play there 6 times a year. NFL teams have 10 games each, so not very difficult to schedule 26 games over the season especially when Trojans don’t play much in December. Supposedly Vikings paid $3 million in rent per game while their stadium was being built. Easy to think 20 games rent * 3-5 million per * 2 years puts a huge dent in costs. Repainting and drying is toughest challenge.

        General consensus is Chargers over Raiders cosplay preferred. Inglewood groundbreaking is next week.

        1. Coliseum renovations are in holding pattern waiting on 2024 Olympic decision. If successful, lowest seats can’t yet be permanent (allowing for moveable track installation). Also, more sun shading for seats is planned in Olympic version.

          If bid is unsuccessful, USC original design moves forward.

          Even if possible, a third team would require a new artificial surface, not just repainting. And perhaps the toughest challenge is lack of locker room space.

  4. Spanos’ mistake was asking the voters. KJ learned that lesson early; don’t ask the voters.

    Once you build a financial model, however faulty that model might be, you go with revenue anticipation bonds. No vote needed.

    Make up any numbers you want to show it’s going to work, then proceed. No court will stop you. Get with the program, San Diego! THINK BIG!

  5. So how does this all interplay with the tax code as far as tax exemptions, writeoffs etc that essentially get subsidized through the federal tax code by taxpayers in other states and communities that do not spend public money this way? I would rather subsidize clean water in a another state/community than a stadium.

    1. Do you mean federally tax exempt bonds? I’m assuming Arlington will use those for their share of the costs, so yes, federal taxpayers will probably be on the hook for $100m or so.

      1. I believe the Rangers can also ask the City to issue increment financing bonds for the team share. Those bonds can be repaid from ticket taxes and parking taxes. I believe the Master Agreement also indicates how the PSL and naming rights money can be uses. If I’m not mistaken, one of them can only be used towards the token rent payment (~$2M/year) but don’t hold me to that. Been a couple of months since I looked over the document.

        1. Nope. Has to be “generally applicable taxes” to get tax-exempt status, and those are special surcharges.

          1. I made no claim on the tax status of the Increment Financing bonds, merely noting that the team can use the city (and I would assume its credit rating, which I believe is AAA) to issue bonds for the team share. I have no idea if that makes the borrowing costs cheaper for the Rangers owners or not.


            Section 3.8(g)

  6. Incredible what suckers they can be in Texas. 500 million for a baseball stadium when you already have one.

  7. With Texas now off the list, and Phoenix waiting, do we start a new contest on who will be the next team to demand a replacement for their relatively new stadium? I’m going to go off the board here and predict the Houston Astros. Their reason: They will want a completely open air stadium because Houstonian need a break from all that air conditioning.

    1. I’m betting Milwaukee because they realize how stupid and expensive it was to build a retractable roof stadium in a place that has nice weather for almost all of the baseball season.

      Plus Scott Walker needs to find a new reason to slash education budgets.

    2. I’ll go with Cleveland, since their attendance is down and the team is doing well and anyway it’s Cleveland. Though I’m still waiting for the Rockies to demand an argon-pressurized dome.

Comments are closed.