Friday roundup: Too much nonsense to fit in one headline

On a super-tight schedule this morning, so super-quick lightning round:

  • A judge in El Paso has confirmed that its new arena can only be used for concerts, not sports, because that’s the way their wrote the bond proposal for voters. Copy editors are important!
  • North Carolina withdrew a plan to explore whether to sell a bunch of government building in Raleigh and give the land to a new MLS soccer franchise because it would be “premature,” whatever that means, but it sure doesn’t sound like a ringing endorsement.
  • At a panel on whether Calgary should give a ton of money to the Flames, National Post columnist Jen Gerson asserted that while Edmonton may have been suckered into funding an arena for the Oilers, “we’re just not that pathetic, as a city.” I really really hope that “How pathetic can we be?” becomes somebody’s campaign slogan in the upcoming mayoral election.
  • Nashville councilmember Jeremy Elrod is questioning the city’s plan to include a private development on public land as part of a soccer stadium project, noting, “I thought we were building an MLS stadium out of wanting to get a team here and not necessarily to help the team owners make more money.” Ah, but wanting to help the team owners make more money is always the reason why they demand stadium subsidies. I’ve got a whole book you can read about that if you want, Councilmember Elrod.
  • Inglewood Mayor James Butts is surprised and steamed that Madison Square Garden, which owns the Forum and rehabbed it as a concert venue, is fighting against Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer’s proposed arena because it would compete with theirs. Somebody doesn’t know his history.
  • Russia is ensuring that a new stadium in Ekaterinburg is big enough for World Cup games by building extra seats outside the stadium.
  • Phoenix is selling off its Sheraton hotel for $255 million (great!), $50 million less than the city owes on it (not great, but better than continuing to only get a thin trickle of revenue from it), and will also give the buyer $97 million in tax breaks and $13 million in cash to use for renovations (hey now…) If the city now turns around and spends the money on a Suns arena, this will be the trifecta of badness.
  • The Washington Nationals are again fighting with D.C. officials over who’ll pay for added late-night train service to postseason games, as this is what happens every time the Nats make the playoffs, at least for the couple of days before they’re elminated again.
  • The San Francisco 49ers keep hosting concerts at their Santa Clara stadium that blow past the 10 pm curfew, and it turns out the $1,000 fine per infraction isn’t much of a deterrent. Never could have seen that one coming.

17 comments on “Friday roundup: Too much nonsense to fit in one headline

  1. The Deadspin article on Ekaterinburg was not clear but that is a 60-year old stadium that has been renovated twice in the last decade (not a new stadium and FC Ural Yekaterinburg play there now). Those outdoor seats are really fascinating but bad weather in the World Cup could turn into an epic disaster.

    • I’ve been entertained reading about it. It’s a rather bizarre project–basically a Soldier Field sort of thing only more extreme. The historical structure is protected from being altered so they basically built the new stadium inside the confines of the old with zero architectural ties between the two. Then they built these oddball temporary stands on two ends to hit the World Cup capacity limits. It’ll look less strange when those extra stands are removed but it’s still always going to be a crazy contrast between the old-time facade and the big metal bowl inside of it.

    • And it looks like the sightlines from the outdoor seats are terrible. It almost looks like they might as well have pointed some of the seats directly at the outer wall of the stadium, or even away from it.

      • People paid $200 a pop to stare at the outside wall of the Dallas stadium during the Super Bowl, so why not?

  2. The El Paso article is well worth a read. The mayor keeps talking like they’re still doing sports even though the courts have said no twice now.

    But, I really didn’t follow the judge’s reasoning that outside money also could NEVER be used to make the facility sports-capable. That seems like a huge stretch of logic. It’d be one thing if the changes took away the facilities ability to host concerts, etc. but that wasn’t the logic used. Instead the judge said that since the bonds to build it weren’t for a sports facility it could never, ever host a sporting event even if outside moneys paid for it. That seems incredibly restrictive.

    • Given that the economics of hosting sporting events (and the cultural value!) are significantly different than other uses as well as the precedent of allowing (intentionally?) poorly worded referenda subverting voter wishes I do not see anything restrictive at all about the judges ruling.

      There was a ruling recently by a local judge that the local university could not build a new multisport practice facility. The city brought suit (motivated largely by nimby concerns) and won using an aesthetics clause (yep, they stopped it on the grounds it was ugly) and the judge upheld the “ugly” argument.

      • So, you’re saying Britney Spears is going to be better for them culturally than seeing the gold medal gymnasts put on an exhibition? Because the ruling was all inclusive and seemed ignorant of the fact that concert venues frequently host athletic types of events regardless of whether the facility is specifically formatted for sports.

  3. On blowing past that curfew in Levi’s: It turns out they had a grand total of six complaints because of this.

    I guess the old “Stay off my lawn!”-stereotype is rapidly fading.

  4. The curfew fine should be $1000 per song. With concert goers picking up the tab by passing a hat. That way you’d think twice before demanding an encore. “hmm, they haven’t played ‘Sugar Magnolia’ yet but if they do, it’s gonna cost us an extra 13 cents. I say we don’t clap. Lets just go home.”

  5. It’s not really a “world cup stadium” in the classic sense… as noted above this is an existing stadium to which temporary seating is being added just for the world cup.

    It may look ridiculous, and the people who buy those seats may refuse to use them, but this plan is a great deal more sane than Brazil building a 50,000 seat stadium in a small remote city that has no overland connection to the rest of the country, or Greece building a world class baseball stadium.

    When the Russian world cup is over, the seats will be removed, the (end) walls of the stadium will be replaced and life goes on much as before for the fans of the major tenant and the club itself.

  6. Any idea why there were so many empty seats (at least in the lower bowl) for the Red Wings new arena? Priced too high? Traffic problems?

  7. Sounds like the Mayor of El Paso is telling the judge to go pound sand and they’re going to build a sports venue anyway.

  8. Regarding Calgary.

    It seems that NHL commish Gary B’s meddling has worked; Bill Smith is poised to be the new mayor of that town.

    Next up for GB is Ottawa where our beggar owner Mr. Melnyk wants to cashier his 15ish year old suburban arena for one right in the centre of the city.

    That I, a resident of Ottawa, will be allowed to pay for.


    Dan Shields, Ottawa.

    • One of the reasons that modern polling is so poor is that they use very small sample sizes (to minimize cost). This inevitably leads to a higher probability of inaccuracy, such as we have seen in recent state/provincial and federal elections in both the US and Canada.

      Small polling companies are also more likely to target particular demographics for their clients. This can heavily skew results.

      The larger polling organizations have produced results that were within shouting distance of the actual election results in 2015… not so of the smaller pollsters.

      In other words, the tiny Mainstreet poll (paid for by Post Media – hardly a neutral agency) might represent the results we see in next week’s election…. or it might be as out of touch as most polls were during the last provincial and federal elections.

      • The bigger problem with modern polling, as the New Yorker article linked in my more recent post makes clear, is that increasing numbers of people don’t have landlines, and/or don’t answer calls from pollsters. If Mainstreet is forced to extrapolate out from some tiny number of 18-to-34s who they could actually get to answer their questions, that would explain the unexpected results in that age range.

  9. Related to the sale of the Sheraton Hotel, the City of Phoenix council is hiding between Executive Sessions (Oct 10 and 18) from the public, the consultants report on renovating the current Talking Stick Resort Arena.

    Original article –