Friday roundup: Warriors debt fight, giant American butts, and the blackout curtains that will eat Minneapolis

It’s laugh to keep from crying week! (Just kidding: It’s always laugh to keep from crying week.)

  • The 46-year-old Richmond Coliseum is “clearly past its prime” and “smaller and gloomier than many competing venues,” and the city should use “original thinking and strong leadership from the private and public sectors” such as tax-increment financing to help pay for a new arena, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Not included in the editorial: any indication of how much a new arena would cost or whether the benefit to the city would be worth it, because why think about such things when there’s new-car smell to be had?
  • Oakland and the Golden State Warriors owners are still fighting over who’ll pay for $40 million in remaining Oracle Arena debt once the Warriors move to San Francisco in 2019. It sure sounds like the team’s Oakland lease requires them to pay off remaining debt if they leave before 2027, but the city really would have had a much stronger case if it had refused to grant the team a lease extension without an agreement on debt payments, and made Steph Curry go play in the street for a couple of years.
  • The Texas Rangers‘ new stadium will feature seats that are 1 to 2 inches wider than in their old one, which is good for fans with wide butts (I stand accused, although not of being a Rangers fan), but less good for fans with butts of any size who will have to make do with seats farther down the outfield lines to make way for the butts of more well-off fans. Everything’s a tradeoff.
  • The Detroit Grand Prix owners, seeking to justify turning a public park into a private raceway for three months of preparation each summer, claim the annual event is worth $58 million to the local economy, and I told the Detroit Metro Times why that’s probably bullshit.
  • Here are some pictures of Los Angeles F.C.‘s new stadium in the final stages of construction that look disturbingly like pictures of stadiums in the first stages of demolition. At least season-ticket sales are going well, and those are way harder to fake than individual game ticket sales!
  • Derek Jeter may have gotten rid of anything not nailed down from the 2017 Miami Marlins, but he still can’t move Red Grooms’ horrific home run sculpture, because the public helped pay for it so now it’s public art. (Too bad Marlins fans couldn’t have tried the same argument about Giancarlo Stanton.)
  • The NCAA has awarded the 2019 men’s Final Four to U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, and now is demanding a giant blackout curtain to cover up the building’s windows for the event. Cost, according to Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority chair Mike Vekich: “It will be expensive — obviously.” Crazy idea: Tell the NCAA, “You already awarded us the Final Four, if you want a giant venetian blind, pay for it yourself or go play in the street with Steph Curry.”
  • The cost of a pedestrian bridge to get fans to a new stadium in Atlanta — no, not that bridge to that stadium, a different bridge to the Falcons stadium — has nearly doubled from $12.8 million to $25.1 million, thanks in part to rush charges to get ready for next year’s Super Bowl. You know where next year’s Super Bowl would look great if the NFL won’t pay rush charges for a bridge? You guessed it!

20 comments on “Friday roundup: Warriors debt fight, giant American butts, and the blackout curtains that will eat Minneapolis

  1. Is it just me not paying attention or has the LAFC group flown mostly under the radar?

    They are a high profile and extremely well funded (and large) group, so funding has never been an issue (as far as I know this is one of the few instances where *no* public funds are being used, though the stadium is being built in exposition park).

    Normally any MLS related developments seem to be in the news… but unlike Beckham and Co, this group is just getting on with it.

    • Yeah I actually had never heard of LAFC until about two weeks ago, and I listen to sports talk radio all the time (few hours north of LA).

      Very bizarre that this team has just kind of snuck up.

  2. I wonder if Oakland could just go for broke and levy a $20 per ticket tax on all Warriors tickets for their final season. People are willing to pay huge sums for Warrior’s tickets from scalpers, so cost doesn’t seem to be an issue. That would generate about 20 million dollars. And what’s the worst that could happen? The team’s going to leave anyway.

    • I could see the Mayor doing something like that. She is like Jean Quan, Jerry Brown and Willie Brown, and cares nothing about sports (or people who buy tickets). Of course, any money generated on such a tax would be spent on a “Pet Project” or tax break for campaign contributions for some politician. I have to say, in most cases, spending money on sports facilities are neither cost effective nor fair, but Oakland is an exception. Why? It is a fact that the Coliseum is the worst facility that any major professional franchise has to play in this country (raw sewage in the locker rooms was just one example), and the A’s have not had a new facility built for them since 1914 in Philadelphia. Politicians like these are why Oakland may be the first city to lose three professional sports teams. Not only are the Warriors and Raiders leaving, but they are doing nothing to keep the A’s from having to leave as well (see NO train station @ Howards Terminal being the latest example). I bet on the Rays getting something built for them (probably in Tampa Bay) before the A’s do in Oakland which is why the A’s ownership will likely join the Warriors and Raiders in leaving Oakland.

      • Well Tampa might get a new stadium first because that area and Florida in general are dumb enough to throw hundreds of millions of public dollars at it. That’s not something that happens in the Bay Area or California much anymore.

      • Oakland politicians understand they can’t afford to build sports palaces for billionaires. If that makes them “an exception”, good for them.

        • Agreed Ted. I am not sure why Oakland politicians are expected to preferentially “care” for the relatively small percentage of their citizens who can afford to attend professional sports events on a regular basis (and who can and should be paying the full cost for their entertainment).

          Politicians are supposed to represent everyone, not just specific groups (no matter how much discretionary income each has).

      • I am confused why Oakland would have teams anyway. It is not a major US city on a level where it should be competing for sports franchises, and with the gentrification of sports attendance, I am not sure why it should care about the experience of people who mostly don’t live their whose money mostly goes to owners and players.

        • Well, if Oakland is “not a major US city on a level where it should be competing for sports franchises” either are Minneapolis, New Orleans, Cleveland, Tampa, St Louis, Pittsburgh or Cincinnati, all of which have fewer people and less disposable income than Oakland.

          That’s not to say Oakland should give giant subsidies but rather simply to state it’s a modestly attractive market if you want to run an entertainment business.

  3. By the way, I’m impressed that you were even able to get to a computer today. What a storm. Sure, not as direct in NYC, but it’s still pretty exciting today, I’m sure.

  4. Bettman says Flames’ finances impacted by the aging Saddledome

    https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/bettman-says-flames-finances-impacted-by-the-aging-saddledome-1.3826477

    • Gee, and he said he wouldn’t be talking about arenas on this trip…

      If the Flames finances are being “affected” by the age of the building they play in, the owners should be motivated to invest capital to improve their place of business – just like any other business owner would.

      This is really good news as opposed to bad…

  5. I wonder how often team owners have their houses completely torn down and rebuilt?

  6. $350 million for a 22K seat soccer stadium? Do they have Brookstone massage chairs at every seat?

    • If you look at the ownership page on their website… you’ll see that no standard would be too high for some of the group.

      Having said that, apart from land and some infrastructure improvements (some of which we were told would be done with money that would have had to be spent on demolition anyway…), they appear to be spending their own money on the facility… so I am comfortable with whatever level of amenities they want to spend their dough on.

      It’s just nice to see business owners investing in their own business rather than expecting people who make under $50k a year to subsidize them.

  7. It turns out that having a season ticket drive that embraces deposits from everyone sells faster than Las Vegas and their drive that took deposits from locals.

    www.si.com/nhl/2018/03/04/seattle-nhl-expansion-season-ticket-drive

    A group looking to bring an expansion NHL team to Seattle for the 2020-21 season says it has received 33,000 deposits for season tickets and won’t accept more.

    Oak View Group on Saturday started a waitlist for those who missed out.

    • Are they refundable deposits? Or are you locked in if the team comes into existence by then?

      • From the NHL Seattle website response to that question, yes.

        Yes. At the time season ticket seats are selected, you can request and receive a refund of your deposit if you do not want to purchase season tickets.

        In addition, if the NHL does not grant an NHL franchise to Seattle, your deposit will be refunded to you.