Friday roundup: Untangling NYCFC’s stadium plan, fighting over the Crew’s future, and what to do with a luxury suite

Sorry for the radio silence the last couple of days — it was a combination of not much super-urgent breaking news and a busy work schedule on my end — but let’s remedy that with a heaping helping of Friday links:

  • Part of that busy schedule was wrapping up work on my Village Voice article trying to unravel NYCFC’s latest stadium plan, and while the upshot remains what it was a month ago — this is a Rube Goldberg–style proposal with so many moving parts that it’s hard to say yet if it would involve public subsidies — it also involves city parks land that isn’t really parkland but is really controlled by another city agency that isn’t really a city agency and denies having control over it … go read it, you’ll either be entertained or confused or both!
  • The state of Maryland has luxury suites at the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles stadiums, and Gov. Larry Hogan mostly uses them for family members and political cronies. This should come as a surprise to no one, but it’s a reminder that getting government use of a suite as part of a stadium deal is less a public benefit than a, what do you call those things?
  • Based on questions asked at a Monday hearing, The Stranger concludes that most King County council members aren’t opposed to the Seattle Mariners‘ demand for $180 million in future county upgrade spending on Safeco Field, in exchange for the team signing a new lease. That could still change, obviously, but only if all of you readers turn toward Seattle and shout this post in unison. Three, two, one, go!
  • MLS commissioner Don Garber says talks are “ongoing” with the city of Columbus about replacing the Crew if they move to Austin, and by “with the city of Columbus” he apparently means the local business council the Columbus Partnership. And even their CEO, Alex Fischer, doesn’t sound too in the mood to talk, noting that Garber has called for a new downtown stadium in Columbus while not requiring the same of Austin: “I find it extremely ironic that the commissioner wants a downtown stadium at the same time that the McKalla site is the equivalent of building a stadium in Buckeye Lake.” MLS deputy commissioner Mark Abbott retorted that Fischer’s remarks are “certainly a strange way to demonstrate an interest in working with us.” The lines of communication are open!
  • The owners of Nashville S.C. would have to pay $200,000 a year in city rent on their new stadium, which is … something, at least. Except, reports the Tennessean, “Parking revenue collected from non-soccer events at the new MLS stadium, such as concerts or football games, would go toward the annual base rent and could potentially cover the entire amount.” So maybe not really something.
  • Glendale has extended its arena management deal with AEG through 2026, which will mean continuing to pay $5.6 million annual management fees, but also collecting about $1.6 million a year in shared arena revenues. That’s not good, but it is significantly better than the lease that had the city paying the owners of the Arizona Coyotes more than $7 million a year after revenue shares, so yay Glendale for tearing up that lease and bidding out the contract to at least cut their losses.
  • Here’s Austin’s lead negotiator with Crew owner Anthony Precourt over a new stadium, Chris Dunlavey of Brailsford and Dunlavey. on whether the deal is fair to taxpayers: “All around, I don’t know how it could get characterized as favorable to [Precourt Sports Ventures]. I think the city of Austin has negotiated this to as favorable for a city as PSV could stand to do.” Uh, Chris, you do know that “good for the public” and “as least awful for the public as we could get” aren’t the same thing, right?
  • Former U.S. senator Barbara Boxer has thrown her weight behind Inglewood residents opposing a new Los Angeles Clippers arena because it could cause gentrification and displacement. Which, not all arenas do, but in hot urban areas like L.A. it doesn’t take much to cause gentrification and displacement, so I can certainly see why there’s concern.
  • An otherwise unidentified group calling itself Protect Oakland’s Shoreline Economy has issued flyers opposing the A’s building a stadium at Howard Terminal because, among other things, it could displace homeless encampments to make way for parking lots. This is getting David Beckham–level silly, but also it’s getting harder and harder not to feel like the A’s owners should just give in and build a stadium at the Coliseum site, since at least nobody seems to mind if they do that. Yet.

13 comments on “Friday roundup: Untangling NYCFC’s stadium plan, fighting over the Crew’s future, and what to do with a luxury suite

  1. What you are seeing in LA & (especially) Oakland and is NIMBYISM at it’s worst. The idea that a homeless area @ Howards Terminal is more important then a ballpark that can generate tax revenue (money that can be used for among other things helping the homeless), is on the surface, simply insane. Of course, this has NOTHING to do with the homeless and everything to do with special interests wanting a different use of Howards Terminal then that of an A’s Stadium.

    • An easy solution woudl be the A’s donate time and effort to charities in Oakland helping the homeless.

      It would at least make a new stadium kicking out the homeless seem less bad.

    • Howard Terminal is a toxic warzone compared to the Coliseum site. I agree that the tactics of the group behind this particular flier are pretty dumb, but the site has a giant list of legitimate problems that don’t really apply to (or to the same degree) at the Coliseum site. Not to mention all the render porn of a Howard Terminal stadium has the stadium oriented in a way that is very unlikely to come to fruition.

    • LA is different because that arena would literally require knocking down houses where people are already living. Oakland I agree it’s ridiculous.

  2. Nothing rivals the silliness in Miami ! The same activists that didn’t want the stadium in Over town want to receive their benefits if stadium built at Melreese.

  3. Btw, the area called the Domain in Austin is becoming the new downtown of Austin and attracting a younger demo. There is only one downtown in Columbus and it’s control by Nationwide Corp. Unfortunately they want the Crew gone, which is why the other business leaders are frustrated and bitching at Garber for not accepting the fairgrounds.

  4. … Mark Abbott retorted that Fischer’s remarks are “certainly a strange way to demonstrate an interest in working with us.”…

    Hmmmn. Cuts both ways. Allowing an owner who buys a team in a particular location to up stakes and move without any meaningful consultation over the alleged problems he is facing in Columbus (or even having the alleged problems reasonably well defined beyond “I like Austin better”) is a strange way to demonstrate an interest in maintaining a franchise in Columbus – one of the league’s originals and location of it’s very first (and privately funded) SSS.

    But what am I thinking… we are in the age of the Alpha Plus male… where every negotiator’s lack of reason and total ignorance/belligerence is actually the other guy’s problem…

    • And Abbott’s snarky “retort” is a strange way of demonstrating an interest in getting $millions of free stuff in the zero-leverage world of MLS negotiations.

  5. “And even their CEO, Alex Fischer, doesn’t sound too in the mood to talk, noting that Garber has called for a new downtown stadium in Columbus while not requiring the same of Austin”

    Dear Columbus,

    In the wake of our dealings with Mr. Ann Walton and the NFL, we fully empathize.

    Sincerely,
    St. Louis

  6. Your article about the Mariners’ support from council was from a day prior to one of the sponsors reversing their position. I think that makes the number “for” only 2 vs 3 “against or reduced” and then a whole lot of undeclared.

    www.thestranger.com/slog/2018/07/31/30040484/kohl-welles-will-no-longer-sponsor-safeco-funding-deal-wants-more-money-for-affordable-housing-instead

    “Kohl-Welles was originally a co-sponsor of Constantine’s proposal. In an announcement Tuesday afternoon, she said she is removing her name as a cosponsor and plans to introduce an amendment to reduce the money going to the stadium to about $25 million.”

    • Thanks, had missed that one! Though much will turn on the undeclared, obviously.

  7. So… the Oakland community group wanting to “save” HT really has the acronym POSE?