Friday roundup: CFL in Halifax, Columbus ghost stadium, Sydney is the new Atlanta, and more!

Are any of my American readers even out there, or are you all too busy tormenting retail workers with your demands for discounted goods? If so, you’re missing out, because we’ve got all your goods right here, at our everyday discount of free!

  • The CFL is considering expanding to Halifax, which means Halifax would need a CFL stadium, which means somebody would have to pay for a Halifax CFL stadium. Halifax Mayor Mike Savage says a stadium is “not a capital priority at this time” and would have to be built “without putting taxpayers at risk.” The Ottawa RedBlacks stadium model is being floated, which is slightly weird because that ended up costing taxpayers a bundle of money plus free land, but maybe “taxpayer risk” is defined differently in Halifax. Anyway, we’ve been this far before, so grains of salt apply.
  • Remember how I wasn’t sure what would be included in the $75 million in public “infrastructure” spending that F.C. Cincinnati is demanding? Turns out that’s because nobody’s sure: WCPO notes that the team hasn’t provided any cost estimates or a traffic study, which “leaves us wondering where, exactly, FC Cincinnati came up with its figures.” I’ll take “nice round number, slightly less than the $100 million elected officials balked at previously” in the pool, please.
  • A guy in Columbus came up with an idea to use county sales tax money to build a new stadium to keep the Crew in town, then the next day said it was just an idea he came up with over the weekend by himself and never mind.
  • The city of Worcester is still trying to lure the Pawtucket Red Sox to town, and the state of Massachusetts may be getting involved, with one unnamed source telling the Worcester Telegram that stadium funding would need to be a “a three-legged stool” among the city, state, and team. You know this article is just going to be waved around in the Rhode Island legislature as it heads toward a vote on public funding for a PawSox stadium there, and what was everyone just saying about the role of enablers in abuse, again? (Not that stadium swindles are morally equivalent to sexual harassment, obviously, but you get my point. Also, why are all the articles about the role of enablers in sexual harassment a month old, are we not going to pay attention to that after all?)
  • The state of Connecticut may spend $40 million on upgrades to Hartford’s arena and some retail properties near its entrance, on the grounds that it might make it more attractive to buyers. If this seems like getting it backwards to you, yeah, me too, but at least it’s better than spending $250 million on the arena and then not selling it.
  • Laney College students, faculty, and staff all hate the idea of an Oakland A’s stadium on their campus. “They want to disrupt our education by building a ballpark across the street with noisy construction, traffic gridlock, pollution, and alcohol consumption by fans,” Associated Students of Laney College President Keith Welch told KCBS-TV. “We will not sacrifice our education so that the A’s owners can make more money.” Pretty sure they won’t get a vote, though.
  • “Industry experts” say that the new Milwaukee Bucks arena will charge more for concert tickets because … it’ll draw bigger-name acts that cost more, I think they’re saying? That doesn’t actually seem like a detriment, though they also note that the new arena has a higher percentage of seats in the lower bowl, which people will pay more for even if they’re way in the back of the lower bowl, and helps explains why arena and stadium designers are so obsessed with getting as many lower-deck seats as possible even if it makes for crappier upper-deck seats. Which we kind of knew already, but a reminder always helps.
  • And move over, Atlanta, there’s a new planned stadium obsolescence king in town: The state of New South Wales is planning to spend $2 billion Australian (about $1.5 billion U.S.) to tear down the Sydney stadium it built for the 2000 Olympics, along with another smaller stadium in Sydney built in 1988, in order to build newer ones that are more ideally shaped for rugby, I think? Because nobody thought of that in 2000? I need to wait for my Australian rugby correspondent to return from holiday break for a more authoritative analysis, but right now this is looking like one of the worst throw-good-money-after-bad deals in stadium history, and it’s not even in America, the land that has perfected the stadium swindle. Crikey!

13 comments on “Friday roundup: CFL in Halifax, Columbus ghost stadium, Sydney is the new Atlanta, and more!

  1. It looks like Chicago is getting a United Soccer League team and a retractable roof soccer stadium.
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/columnists/ori/ct-biz-lincoln-yards-soccer-stadium-ryan-ori-20171121-story.html

  2. I would love to see a 5th team in the eastern division of the CFL and think Halifax/Dartmouth is the right place for it, but with Anthony Leblanc involved (he of the IceEdge Phoenix Coyotes bid…) I’m not sure it will ever see the light of day.

    I don’t doubt he has the money, but his record of putting together sports ownership groups and then following through is not that great (as I recall, he ended up a minority partner with Gosbee, then Barroway in Az after his own group failed…. their media efforts in that deal made them sound like rich college kids on a cross country road trip, not prospective franchise owners/partners).

    As for the CFL in general, well there’s this…

    http://www.cbc.ca/sports/football/cfl/randy-ambrosie-concussions-1.4418089

    $200m would probably buy you six of the current nine franchises…

  3. Wasn’t the A’s plan for the Laney college site to pretty much move the entire college campus out and replace it with a ballpark and development? What is this “across the street” claim?

    • No, the A’s proposed site is indeed on the south side of 8th Street, where the community college district (Laney is one campus in the district) has administrative offices and some other support facilties. The Laney College athletic fields are on the north side of 8th St. Most of the campus is on the same side of the street as the athletic fields, on the other side of a channel that connects Lake Merritt to San Francisco Bay.

      • Why does a community college need athletic facilities? Just build the stadium on the these fields cause they don’t need them.

    • I’m not entirely convinced that it’s not just a ploy to extract even more favorable treatment from the city/county for development at the Coliseum site.

  4. The only problem with the Worcester plan is that the city has no money to build (or run) a stadium and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is highly reluctant to ever fund sports arenas (and has generally regretted it when it has). Once the stadium is built, there are very few companies to buy season tickets to “support the town”–interestingly enough, these articles never actually get a sense of the actual demand for baseball would be, other than it would “help.”

    Worcester is actually doing well in the proverbial “bars and restaurants” scene based on a good sized student population (WPI, Clark, Holy Cross) and some good craft breweries. It is trying very hard to reverse decades of de-industrialization and the concentration of tech and headquarters in Boston. Neither is addressed by building a baseball stadium, sadly–as so many other cities have already learned.

  5. The Stampeders could give the sorry Broncos, a run for their money this year. Can’t wait for the Grey Cup, tomorrow.

    I don’t understand how someone can love football, but not pay attention to the CFL. I think any honest observer, that watched it with an open mind, would have to admit that it is pretty good football.

    I kind of think of it, as the sixth “power five” conference. Or something. It’s hard to classify, because there is nothing to compare it to.

    • It’s a very different game, certainly.

      It isn’t the “show” that the NFL is, but I know plenty of football fans in the US who like the CFL game.

  6. Oh yeah, sorry. My main point, was that I hope Halifax finally does get the Schooners.

    I hear some people talking about how the CFL should have twelve teams, but ten seems just about perfect.

    Putting a team in Quebec City, seems like a stretch to me, for quite a few reasons. And, then there is no place left for a 12th team, after that. Maybe Whitehorse could support a team.

    • Add two more teams, Halifax and Quebec City. Then with 11 teams, TSN (Bell) could have five nights of football (one with a doubleheader on Saturday, and one team always having a bye) each week, thereby filling their summer schedule that’s overwhelmed by Sportsnet with the Blue Jays.

  7. Yeah so that Sydney, NSW decision is so hilarious.

    Those stadiums are fine. Olympic Park isn’t 20 years old, and the SFS is 30 years old. But in Australia, cities like Adelaide and Perth have just finished building shiny new stadiums, that they needed for Australian football (and they did have a need for them), and Sydney is jealous, and will happily stuff their own taxpayers over.

    Sydney needs a roofed stadium like it needs a ski run. Idiots.

  8. I thought Curling was king in Halifax. Maybe some sort of mammoth curling / football highbred stadium. It’s crazy but it’s the kind of crazy I like to see other people’s money spent on.