Friday roundup: Why Pistons fans can’t bear to watch, Broncos land grab move, Donald Trump could win Morocco the World Cup, and more!

All evidence to the contrary, spring (and the spring end-of-legislative-session season) must be getting nearer, because the stack of weekly roundup news items in my Instapaper is getting longer and longer each week. Better get down to it:


35 comments on “Friday roundup: Why Pistons fans can’t bear to watch, Broncos land grab move, Donald Trump could win Morocco the World Cup, and more!

  1. World Hatred of Donald Trump did not prevent LA from getting the Olympics. “Its not personal its just business&” ( Don Vito Corleone)

    • With cities starting to wise up, the IOC only had two legit options, Paris and LA. So they both got Olympics. Since they are already knee deep in facilities, LA might be the only city in the world that pull it off without losing a fortune.

      • I bet NY/NJ could pull it off. With the exception of the veladrome everything is available ( or will be once the Islander Arena is finished).

        • All true, NY NJ would be great, but they are missing one thing that LA already has. A huge track and field stadium. They are incredibly expensive to build, and virtually useless after the games. Chicago tried to get around this by proposing a temporary, disposable stadium. That earned us a fourth place (out of 4) finish in voting.

          • So what? Just build a track at the new Yankee Stadium and host the Ceremonies there. Or maybe build a new stadium in Queens. There is land around Citi Field.

          • Why would they build a new stadium for a two-week event? New York is too smart for that

          • That would work. Would still be insanely expensive though. A 400 meter track doesn’t fit in a baseball stadium. You have to do what the Atlanta did. Build half a baseball stadium, connected to a disposable track stadium. Then after the Olympics, tear down the track part and build the rest of the baseball stadium. But I don’t see the Yankees or Mets tearing down half of their existing stadium. We are waisting our time here, aren’t we?

    • True but by all reports it made them not get the Olympics in 2024. Other nations wanted firm assurances Trump would be out of office before the ceremonies started….so 2028.

  2. That Pistons/Red Wings article was so great/funny, I thought it might be satire. There is no way Kid Rock fans prefer craft beer to Bud Light.

  3. I thought all affiliated MiLB teams had their payrolls covered by the parent club in MLB?

    If a(n) MLB club wants to contract two or three of it’s short season Rookie league feeder clubs so that it can cover the $4m remaining on Raul Mondesi’s 2006 contract (j/k), that’s a business decision they have to make. I’m pretty sure Mondesi features less in their future plans than the young players they are putting out of work (and who make less than the federally mandated minimum wage), but that’s ok. Some other club will pick up the newly released contracted players and somewhere along the line, one of those guys will become stars…. leaving a bean counter somewhere to explain why they gave away that player to save $3,800 while the main club is still paying Mike Sirotka to not pitch for them.

    How is this any different from some arsehole who owns five McDonald’s franchises threatening to sell or close two if he is forced to pay his employees minimum wage?

    • If Ilitch thought he could make money off them, you bet your ass there would be.

      I’m not sure about the Pistons, but I know for a fact that Red Wing season ticket holders with the prime seats in the house (between the blue lines, quite possibly beyond) are the beneficiaries of all they can eat in a private area outside of the bowl area. It’s not unheard of that many of these folks never actually sit in the seats to watch the game – too much of a chance of making oneself sick watching the product the Wings put on the ice.

      So there you have pro sports in the US in 2018; you charge so much for the tickets that only corporations and the extremely wealthy can afford them, then have to ply said ticket holders with a luxurious place where they can sit and NOT occupy the very seats they’re paying for.

  4. The Broncos are not making a land grab. The land is already owned by the Metropolitan Football Stadium District, the quasi-public agency that also owns the stadium that was built with 75% taxpayer funding. The MFSD and the Broncos are looking for ways to boost revenue without raising ticket prices or going back to the taxpayers, particularly since they’ve been without a naming rights partner for two years now, and show no signs of finding anyone.

    The odd thing in all of this is the size of the renovation and maintenance costs that are allegedly piling up. Back in 2016 the MFSD issued a tender for a “Facilities Condition Assessment,” in order to determine future maintenance and upgrade costs. Last year the MFSD offered a preliminary estimate of $300 million over 30 years. The Assessment is now complete, but has never been made public. (I’ve asked for a copy, but the MFSD spokesman obliquely declined).

    Now the Denver Post article quotes a Broncos’ official that the need is $500-700 million over 25 years! I assume that number comes from the Assessment, which makes finding a copy more important than ever. The DP article also mentions the MFSD getting $5-7 million a year in lease payments, which might provide $125-175 million over 25 years. Even if the naming rights could be worth $10 million a year (which looks more doubtful the longer the stadium goes unnamed), those two income streams only bring in a theoretical $375 – $425 million.

    According to the MFSD, the Broncos and the MFSD spent $28 million on upgrades in the first twelve years after the stadium was built. I can certainly understand some deferred maintenance, but the stadium is going to need $20 – $28 million EVERY YEAR for the next 25 years???

    • Well, “development rights grab,” but that was long to fit in a headline. The MFSD owns the land, sure, but having it redevelopment it and then dedicate the proceeds to helping the Broncos with upgrades is more than just a tad Arte Moreno-ish.

      • Not sure I’m with you on this one, Neil. If the MFSD owns the land, who are they grabbing the rights from?

        Your Arte Moreno comparison may be more on target. If I read your Moreno summary correctly (from Feb 21 ’17), he was looking to be given land, that he would then develop to pay for his renovations. In Denver’s case, the taxpayers paid for the land, and the new plan is to generate investment income to pay for renovations.

        As far as I know, the MFSD paid market value when it acquired the land back in ’98. Since then they have been sitting on it, but probably not paying property taxes. One unanswered question (and probably unasked) is who would get the sales taxes from the entertainment district. Right now there are no sales tax proceeds listed in the MFSD financial report, so I assume that the tax revenue is going into the general fund.

        Of course, I haven’t forgotten that all of this is simply to enable the Bowlen family to continue harvest wealth from a taxpayer-owned facility (for which they do pay one of the top-five rent payments in the NFL). But I do want everyone to get the story straight.

        • The MFSD is the state. They’re not grabbing anything from anyone. The Broncos owners are trying to grab revenues from development of the land to use to fund their stadium improvements.

          • Let’s not bicker over who killed who.

            One more thing I want to throw in to the pot concerns tailgating. Those south lots are prime tailgating sites, and obviously nothing will kill tailgating like parking garages. Under the lease the Broncos receive all concession revenue, so any food and drink consumption that can be driven into the stadium is more money in the Bowlen’s pockets. And the money isn’t insignificant.

            If 15,000 people tailgate (which is a totally made up number), that’s 120,000 mouths over the course of the season that instead may opt to drink and eat in the stadium. At $50 each (which is another TMUN), that’s $6mil a season. If Aramark takes half (TMUN), the Bowlens clear $3mil, or almost their entire rent payment.

  5. The capital gains/losses issue is not a new one. As noted in the article, it applies to every other business in the country (and those in many other countries).

    The leagues can hardly argue that player contracts and residual values can’t be calculated (they do just that for the purpose of depreciating AND expensing them every year under a gigantic federal loophole their owners have enjoyed for ages).

    Halem can complain about the “impossibility” of calculating the value of Justin Verlander all he wants. The value of Verlander as a playing asset of the company at any given moment is the total value remaining on his contract (similar to how European football clubs are, under UEFA FFP rules, able to amortize the value of purchased players contracts over the life of that contract, but are able to recapture the value of sold players contracts in the year the sale occurs).

    So… in the case of the Verlander trade to the Astros, the net capital gain or loss is the remaining value of Verlander’s contract on the day he is traded less the residual value of the contracts of the players (and cash if any) received in return.

    The actual benefit of having a Verlander or Prince Fielder (ahem) on your roster is not quantifiable. The amount due them on contract absolutely is.

    • I would have to assume knowing Verlanders WHIP, ERA, & etc., the Detroit Tigers knew EXACTLY the value and price/cost of his services and addition to their org….and I’m betting dollars-to-donuts that the Houston Astros knew EXACTLY what he would deliver monetarily. I’m also betting that Neymar-to-PSG and Zlatan-to-LA were also extremely calculated moves and each club knows how many new “kits” will be sold as a consequence in addition to on-field performance to justify transfer payments.

      • Since one cannot know the outcome of a competitive event before it is played (ignore the NBA and Tim “down a Gee” for the moment), I disagree.

        Sure, both teams knew what losing/gaining Verlander might mean competitively. But if Gary Sanchez makes a couple of the (difficult) defensive plays he bungled in the Astros/Yankees series, Houston does not get a WS win with Verlander (at least not last year).

        RE: Zlatan and Neymar (or Beckham’s Galaxy move for that matter), I do agree with you. But then, those were mainly marketing moves, not additions made specifically to improve the on pitch performance of the teams in question.

        Dollars you can calculate, on field results not so much.

        What has PSG gained from their ‘investments’ in the last few years? Crashed out of CL (embarrassingly), have won Ligue 1 (although last year lost to tiny Monaco…) but little else.

        Neymar, Mbappe, going back a way Zlatan & Thiago etc…. a LOT of money has been spent trying to secure CL glory. So far domestic titles and shirt sales is all they have come up with.

  6. I’m already starting to talk myself into the possibility that Morocco 2026 could happen and this isn’t helping my delusion, Neil.

    It would be an absolute DREAM if Morocco won. North Africa is one of my favorite places on Earth, the stadiums would all be relatively close to one another and there will be FORTY EIGHT nations represented.

    Make this happen, President Trump!

    • Skeptical that 48 teams will be good, but I agree Morocco could be a lot of fun. And smaller countries better in a way- easier to travel around.

    • Don’t worry. If the USMNT can’t qualify at 48 teams, you know FIFA will just expand the tournament until it does.

      Eventually, all nations will ‘qualify’ by kicking a ball into an undefended net on an international PPV feed (FIFtv – available only on an 8yr contract for U$999 upfront payment. It’s dead air for 2.5 years of each rotation, but you can’t see any of the games unless you take the whole package). The closing ceremonies will be extended to cover a full three days so participation ribbons can be pinned on each player and support staff, while FIFA representatives and national delegates also receive manila envelopes full of cash (multiple currencies, assorted denominations, all previously circulated bills thank you).

      Morocco Population: 33,500,000 (give or take)
      Smaller than Canada’s; larger than Australia’s. Neither nation would be considered as a possible world cup host alone.

      Nominal GDP: $3,000 (approx). About half of South Africa’s GDP (nom). Less than 1/3rd of Brazil’s.

      Yeah. This will be great.

      Are the 8-10 stadia they are going to have to build all going to be built in the northern districts? If not, we are back to a world cup in the desert (which people didn’t like when it was Qatar winning the bri-bid as opposed to the US or South Africa or Brazil bribing the most delegates).

      Curiously, nobody other than the players had a problem with a world cup in Mexico in ’86… when the kickoffs were routinely set for noon local time to please the Euro tv crowd. Kick off temps of 43-45 deg C were not uncommon, as some of you may recall… and humidity was quite high also).

  7. I have yet to attend a single game in a retractable roof stadium where the roof was actually open, even when the weather was perfectly fine. It was either considered “too hot” at the time or “too cold” making me wonder 1) what is considered acceptable, and 2) why bother with the expense of a retractable roof when it will be used so rarely.

      • Apparently the Texans close their roof whenever the temperature is going to be below 50, above 80, or if there is any precipitation.

        I’m a STH at the Raiders, and always wondered how many games could possibly be outside that window (in Oakland, it’ll rain during a home game once every year or two, and almost never be outside of the 50-80 range). Then I went to see the Raiders play at the Texans and Cowboys in November ’13 a week and a half apart (the Cowboys game was on Thanksgiving). Both roofs were closed, with the Houston temperature being above 80 and the Dallas temperature being below 50. I guess that’s Bay Area weather.

        • If it’s always 70 degrees and dry inside, why ever retract a domed stadium roof? What’s the best it could be outside? 70 degrees and dry? Even if the roof on my house could retract, I don’t think I’d ever open it!

    • When someone else (taxpayers) is paying, why should the owner care what the retractable roof costs?

      The stadium it is installed in is going to be demolished in 15-20 years and replaced by something several times as expensive anyway (and almost certainly paid for by taxpayers again), so why does it matter whether it works or is used or not?

    • Most keep their roofs closed unless it would look really bad for it not to be open, except for the Rogers Center in Toronto where the public really, really wants it open unless it’s like snowing out and SafeCo in Seattle where the roof in really only a rain cover. (Toronto does close the roof whenever there isn’t a game though).

      I think retractable roofs are popular because the public thinks that games like baseball and football should be played outdoors, even though they really don’t want to deal with the elements when it comes down to it. Though the teams are usually building with other people’s money so they want to give the people what they think they want so they just add the retractable roof and ignore the added costs during construction.

  8. Well, they could build them like horse racing tracks with enclosed, climate controlled grandstands for the fans and the jockeys and horses out in the elements.

    • As satirical as many may think that to be, all you need to look for is a phrase called, “extended netting,” to realize that is actually a REAL opition of a plan by Rob Manfred of MLB.

    • LOL to both.

      What’s the point of being rich and comfortable if you can’t look out on less rich and comfortable people (and horses) ‘suffering’?