Friday roundup: Battles over Blues arena, Vegas bond subsidy, Belmont land for Islanders

Let’s get right to this week’s remainders:


14 comments on “Friday roundup: Battles over Blues arena, Vegas bond subsidy, Belmont land for Islanders

  1. If Comptroller Darlene Green is that opposed, she should have just resigned rather than suffer the humiliation. That would have made for some political fireworks.

  2. OVG is certainly coming on strong with the NHL. The Seattle MOU going through and being the developer behind the Islanders arena is certainly helping their business get going.

  3. Kochs in Montana
    Dog poop in Australia
    RSL can’t pay rent
    Brooklyn pols hate agreement
    Oilers can’t win a game
    What else do I have to say?

    We didn’t pass the smell test…”

  4. I’m a sports fan and I have found this website to be very interesting over the years. However, more and more the reporters are becoming negative and acting as if sports is the root of all evil. It would be nice to just report the facts, like it used to be.

    • It is an interesting dilemma. Sport, in a more pure form than makes headlines, is an amazing activity that has been one of the centerpieces of human culture for thousands of years. Sport (generally) brings people together, and participating in sport is (generally) good for the body, mind, and soul. Even, if I dare speak its name in today’s zero-risk, zero-tolerance, zero-fun society, American football.

      The business of sports, however, can be a foul thing indeed. This blog explores one of the darkest corners (but not the darkest, obviously) of the business of sports, where greed masks itself in progress and vomits lies to deceive the gullible and the stupid.

      Given the subject matter, the best that can be hoped for on these pages is that something doesn’t happen, i.e. a city tells a sports team no. A trifle grim, perhaps, which makes Neil’s gallows humor all the more welcome.

    • One of the fundamental (and, I would suggest, unchangeable) aspects of contractual obligations is that “no” is never binding, while “yes” is always binding.

      Carpetbaggers seeking an agreement that redirects taxpayer funding from more standard uses into their own pockets can hear a thousand “no”s and simply try again. Once a “yes” comes out, there is no going back.

      I’m not suggesting that the latter is necessarily morally or ethically wrong, just that the former should perhaps carry the same level of permanence.

  5. Not that you care, Neil, but it’s pretty easy to “move” a tennis tournament.

    The male (ATP) and female (WTA) pro associations would solicit bids from another city for that week Miami is slotted for. The new city/sponsor guarantees a minimal prize purse, and the ATP/WTA announce a lot of ranking points at grabs for that location finalizing the incentvization of players can meeting there.

    Miami is one of the top 5-8 tournaments a year outside of the Grand Slams, so it’s a prestigious tournament.

    You may not like tennis, but i think you really need to make a better effort to keep us with tax schemes in tennis (and to a similar degree golf) that don’t have large stadiums, but still have a large infrastructure and city’s willing at throwing money at the professional associations to try to keep their tournaments.

    • I actually like watching tennis okay, but life’s too short to try to understand how the ATP and WTA infrastructure works.

      But thanks for the info. So if it’s so easy to relocate tournaments and no way to easily replace them, why don’t tournament organizers try this move threat thing more often?

      • To relocate a tournament you’d need three main things: 1) it has to be a geographic fit schedule wise, 2) there has to be some infrastructure in place to have a pro tournament, 3) the tourney organizers (city, local committee, sponsor, etc.) have to be able to commit $X in advance for a payout. None of these are really easy.

        1) The ATP and WTA essentially try to fill almost every week with tiered tournaments. The one that commits to the largest purse also gets designated with the most ranking points to earn, thus the Serena’s and the Nadal’s get “slotted” into specific cities. In the case of Miami, it’s the last North American tourney for the spring and then the European clay season follows. So, it’s impracticable for say China to relocate the tourney due to travel (although if an offer was good enough the entire calendar could slide in future years to add another weak to an “Asian leg”), thus some limits to geography. If Miami essentially gets outbid, it can still host a tourney if it damn well wants, but the stars will follow the money and Miami’s ranking point allotment will be severely reduced by ATP/WTA making it unappealing.

        2) For a tourney that attracts the best players (and be able to guarantee a large purse), you generally need about a 7000-12000 main stadium, a 5000 secondary, a few 1000 seaters and another ten or so courts to make money. Easier and cheaper than an arena, but still some cost to do it right (plus a food court, band stage, etc.). Playing in any capacity at the football stadium sounds horrible though.

        3) Generally, there is a lead sponsor that makes a multi-million dollar commitment, and as your comments demonstrate, pro tennis isn’t really in a strong position to piss off a bunch of loyal tournaments and have other cities in a bidding frenzy trying to steal tournaments. Plus, the current system was designed for some stability to try to incentivize players like Federer and Nadal to compete against each other every week instead of allowing them to play a bunch of lucrative but noncompetitive exhibitions between Grand Slams, in order to try to make sure there’s year-round competitive tennis they can sell to media.

        Besides obviously the US Open, there are 4 essentially “mandatory” tennis tournaments in North America: 1) Indian Wells, CA (Larry Ellison’s pet project where he threw a s-ton of his money to build), 2) Miami (which has been denied modest expansion in a park due to some obscure foundation language that gifted the park to the city), 3) Cincinnati, and 4) Toronto/Montreal (each gender is assigned a city and they alternate every year).

        It’s worth keeping an eye out for any public handouts any of these locations may try in order to keep serving as a premier tournament.

        • Oh, if this is all another squabble over access to parkland, that makes more sense. The U.S. Open went through that a few years back with NYC, and while I don’t think they overtly threatened to move, city officials certainly dropped that as a possibility.

          • Miami’s case is a little more unique in that the city wanted to allow the Miami Open to expand, but the park they play in was donated by a trust. The trust stipulated that there can not really be any changes.

            The changes were arguably very minor and unobtrusive, but the board (I think made up of family members of the trustee) vetoed it.

            This being Miami though, no public action is ever for pure good. The land for the park was gifted to the city essentially as a quid pro quo to get the city to build a bridge to the family’s essential private island. So Miami was trying to find ways to play hardball.

            I have no idea what the unpaid debt issue between the city and the Open is about, but keep an eye on this saga– inevitably the “OH NOES, WE ARE GONNA LOSE THE OPEN!” cry will go out and I guarantee some shady tax / real estate deal will go down there.

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