Friday roundup: Some stuff happened, man

I’ve pieced together this week’s news roundup via WiFi made from powdered limestone and gum-tree resin, so if I missed anything important, let me know and I’ll pick it up starting Monday. In the meantime:

  • The state of Connecticut approved spending $10 million to renovate Hartford’s Dillon Stadium if it can lure a USL soccer team. In totally unrelated news, the last guy who promised to lure a soccer team to Dillon Stadium is awaiting sentencing for embezzling city funds spent on the project. Second time’s the charm!
  • That Koch Brothers–sponsored bill to ban sports subsidies in Arizona that got all the attention last week is now apparently dead after it was opposed by the League of Arizona Cities and Towns, Arizona and Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association. Maybe it’ll have better luck in one of the other 24 states where Americans for Prosperity said they were introducing it, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.
  • The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Politics Extra column says that the West End is going to get gentrified against its will whether it likes it or not, so shouldn’t it be by a local guy who wants to build an F.C. Cincinnati soccer stadium as part of it, and not “a developer from, say, New York or Chicago who doesn’t know or care about you or your homes”? Yes, it really truly says that.
  • The Oakland Raiders‘ Las Vegas stadium-building company is proposing to provide a $5 million bond to restore the stadium land to its original condition in the event that construction has to be halted partway through if it goes bankrupt. This is simultaneously an excellent way to safeguard the public interest in all contingencies (except for the $750 million the public would be out either way, obviously) and also really not the kind of thing you want newspaper readers to be thinking about when your new multi-billion-dollar stadium project is about to get underway. Here’s hoping Roger Noll is wrong about this thing having a shot at working.
  • The Miami-Dade County lawsuit against the Marlins‘ former owner Jeffrey Loria and current owners Derek Jeter and Friends over not cutting the county in on a share of the team sale proceeds went to court yesterday, and probably something happened, but it’ll be next week before the latest news story loads for me, so somebody recap anything important in comments, okay? I’ll see you next week.

26 comments on “Friday roundup: Some stuff happened, man

  1. The Koch Brothers are 100% right when it comes to Arizona. Why? Almost no one cares about the Coyotes, Suns and even Diamondbacks. Basically it is Cardinals, ASU and in Tucson University of Arizona and that is it. How do I know? I lived in Maricopa County (Phoenix & Mesa) for three years (until I moved out of Arizona a year ago). Prediction: Arizona will be Ground Zero for the next big Sports Stadium Battle. As for the other 24 States, it is locking the barn after the horses left. Why? How many teams or colleges are looking for big new Stadiums or upgrades that cost more then $500m? A’s, NYCFC, NE Revolution, Beaver Stadium (Penn State), Memorial Stadium (University of Kansas) and the Rays that is about it.

    • I bet the Saints/Pelicans aren’t too far behind. The owner is 90, in the hospital with influenza, and has left it all to his childless wife and a legally ordered part to his estranged adopted children. The team will likely be sold and the political economy in Louisiana pretty much means they’ll do anything not to loose the team (see Neil’s previous articles re:New Orleans). Also, the Superdome is older than the Roman Coliseum in American sports venue terms…

      • That seems similar to the St. Louis Rams situation. Small city. Where the deceased owner’s children didn’t want to be in the football business. And the team was worth much more in a larger city. Luckily for New Orleans, that larger city is now occupied. Better hope some multi billionaire developer with his heart set on London doesn’t buy the Saints.

        • I could see the Saints in San Diego but not London. That said, Louisiana has worked with the NFL to keep the team in NO, and that will certainly help My guess is the most likely franchise to move is the A’s, and that is because the politicians and local community have done nothing for them (no new train station at Howards Terminal being the latest example). The ownership has a right to be fed up, especially true because the Raiders and Warriors are leaving town, and they play in the worst professional stadium/arena in America.

          • Ahh, but soon the Superdome will be the newest “oldest stadium in the league.” Even though it’s 98% brand new, that won’t matter.

          • One thing to keep in mind is that part of the reason the State of LA can afford to give out so much subsidy is that they are absolutely a huge receiver of federal largess, and a tiny payer.

            Them and MS/AL/AR really see a huge amount of federal dollars compared to the size of their populations/economies.

          • For the first time in in decades, there is no stalking horse city for the NFL.

            Does anyone really foresee a full time team in London? Mexico City?

            Jerry Jones would use his considerable influence to prevent San Antonio from being considered.

            Did Spanos forfeit the rights to San Diego when the Chargers bolted? Also, any stadium deal there would get little public money.

            St. Louis was burned twice. Portland would never give public $.

            As the Stones sang “you can’t always get what you want, but you find some times, you get what you need.”

          • “My guess is the most likely franchise to move is the A’s, and that is because the politicians and local community have done nothing for them (no new train station at Howards Terminal being the latest example). The ownership has a right to be fed up…”

            No, they really don’t.

        • Both teams could be sold off and moved to different locations. For example the Pelicans could be moved to Las Vegas or Pittsburgh while the Saints are moved to somewhere in Texas.

          As for the situation in Arizona, I think the Diamondbacks, Suns, and Coyotes are not long for the state.

          • “I think the Diamondbacks, Suns, and Coyotes are not long for the state.”

            The Coyotes have been discussed to death here previously, so, sure.

            But the Suns and Diamondbacks? Both selling plenty of tickets (even with a very poor product in the case of the Suns), in a fast-growing metro area with 4M+ population? Nowhere for them to go where they’d do any better. It ain’t always about a subsidy, or lack thereof.

          • I was surprised to find that the Diamondbacks have drawn at least 2 million fans every year they have been in existence. Granted 2 million isn’t the impressive figure that it was 40 years ago and they haven’t drawn 3 million after having that many 3 of the first 6 years. Other factors are tv deals, corporate sponsors, rent, etc. But if you can’t be profitable drawing 2 million a year, some other owner can.

            I also heard tales of massve dbt problems after the big spending to win a championship early in the franchise. But it is still thete.

    • “How many teams or colleges are looking for big new Stadiums or upgrades that cost more then $500m? A’s, NYCFC, NE Revolution, Beaver Stadium (Penn State), Memorial Stadium (University of Kansas) and the Rays that is about it.”

      Calgary Flames, Carolina Panthers, Washington’s NFL team, possibly the Kansas City Royals or Los Angeles Angels, Buffalo Bills and Carolina Hurricanes both still possible, in addition to the Arizona teams. I’m probably missing a couple. And there are a ton of stadiums built in the late ’90s where the team owners are no doubt looking ahead to their leases ending in a few years and thinking, “Why not?”

      Will all of these teams get public subsidies for new buildings, promptly? Undoubtedly not. But the notion of “everyone has a new stadium now, we can stop this nonsense” is a fallacy so long as team owners can keep redefining “new.”

  2. Don’t forget the Kings NBA All Star Game bid!

    Now with more Vaportechture!

      • I love the cruise ships plan. The scales are so far off, it’s laughable. They still can’t fit a full-size cruise ship past Rio Vista, because the channel is not deep enough and that bridge isn’t high enough. So instead of showing us small cruise ships in Lake Washington, we get shrunken versions of full-size ships. Then the single-hander sailboats are as tall as the cruise ships. If you’ve ever sailed a small boat, you understand how absurd that entire picture is.

        Not to mention that the parking lot at that lake is really awful. I’ve been in it. Horrid. What a joke. God help them if that particular 4 day weekend has rain.

        They need to ditch the Lake Washington plan ASAP.

        But the All Star Game in LA reportedly generated $116M in economic activity, so that’ll be their rationale for asking for $50M. Just watch.

        • It is also a working port. Do they think it would be OK to have no freight deliveries for a week or more?

        • Hey throwing a $50 million party is a lot of fun! Especially when you don’t have to pay for it yourself. It is just other people’s money…so who cares if you have to make a few lies to get it authorized?

  3. The A’s will eventually come around to a new stadium and development on the Coliseum grounds. The arena will be positioned as a concert venue (like the Forum).

    • I think that first part is correct. Not so convinced about the second part, but it is possible. Chase in SF and SAP in SJ will make it difficult for a full-sized Oracle to survive, especially with the potential money that could be made developing that particular spot of land. I think that if the capacity were reduced by about half it would have a better chance of being competitive as a concert venue, filling a relative gap that exists in the Bay Area.

  4. Construction/completion bonds are a normal thing for major projects… they are generally dealt with quietly before groundwork begins for the reasons you have identified (IE: it’s bad press to start by announcing “if we fail…”), but in most privately funded construction projects cities require security in some form be posted before work can begin.

    In publicly funded ones the security can be waived (the idea being that since the taxpayers of the district are funding the project, it pretty much can’t run out of money… but it could fail for other reasons I guess), but in this case the city appears to have required one from the contractor.

    Again, not that unusual.

  5. Neil: would like to hear your thoughts on this…

    Stuck between Columbus and Austin, has Precourt dropped the ball?

  6. Have the Raiders and UNLV finalized their agreement. The last thing I read is that they had agreed on some revenue splits but it had not actually been signed. And I don’t think the separate agreement with the State has been finalized but I may have missed it.