Another Austin councilmember thinks Crew stadium proposal is a load of poop

The Austin city council held its first official discussion of a proposed MLS soccer stadium to host the relocated Columbus Crew yesterday, and apparently Leslie Pool isn’t the only councilmember who went into it having done her reading. Just check this out:

Council Member Alison Alter, who has aligned with Pool in the debate, cited an economic study by Stanford professor Roger Noll critical of most stadium deals cities strike with major league sports owners.

“Austin is wonderful, but we don’t defy the laws of economics,” Alter said. “According to this proposal, we’re giving away our land for free. I have an issue with that.”

Elected officials namechecking Roger Noll without prompting! Maybe we really are in the brave new world predicted by, uh, Roger Noll!

The council is set to meet again on Thursday, but soccer isn’t on the agenda, meaning the decision on whether to give Crew owner Anthony Precourt free land and a bunch of infrastructure money is likely to come down to one final winner-take-all debate on June 28 — though the opposition proposal is likely to be less “don’t let the door hit you on the way out” and more “open up the site for competitive bidding so we can see if we get any better offers.” Aside from Pool and Alter being opposed, and both Mayor Steve Adler and Mayor Pro Tem (vice-mayor, basically) Kathie Tovo being in favor, most councilfolk didn’t have much definitive to say yesterday other than this thing is 189 pages, we need to read it more carefully. Good thing they’re going to have two whole meetings to discuss it, because that sure is democracy!

5 comments on “Another Austin councilmember thinks Crew stadium proposal is a load of poop

  1. Lucky for us, Neil, the rest of the council seems amenable to negotiating with the ownership. Since public financing is only a small percent of the total cost of the project, treating it as an incentive package rather than as stadium funding is ideal. Many of us are excited for the opportunities this stadium will bring to Austin, and without significant public sector risk.

    • I’m going to try that with the IRS next April: “Don’t look at it as me not paying my taxes, look at it as an incentive package for me to stay in the U.S.”

  2. Ha Ha, funny that the council member mentioned Roger Noll. If that council member had done their homework they would know that according to your own interview with Mr Noll, this deal would be a great deal for Austin.

    • I know, right? She should have cited me, as I take a harder line on land subsidies.

  3. At least they are thinking about some of the details… now maybe in the end some kid will show up with their dogs and sway the entire council to agreeing to pay for the stadium, not charge for the land, and then pay the team an annual fee to play in it (which, you know, happened in Glendale)…

    But it’s a good thing that they are looking into options/opportunity cost of using this parcel for a limited revenue generating purpose like a publicly owned stadium in which most of the revenue goes to the tenant not the owner.

    So, Neil, if you rent your apartment rather than own (and no, I don’t want/need an answer to that one…), perhaps you could try this on your landlord too:

    “The World Cup might be coming, so you should continue to pay all expenses associated with the unit but redirect all revenues to me as the tenant because, you know, without me, you’ve just got yerself an empty apartment in the 8 year run up to a world cup… nobody wins there, amiright?”