Friday roundup: More MLS expansion drum beating, more wasteful non-sports subsidies, more bonkers Tottenham stadium delay stories

Getting a late start this morning after being out last night seeing Neko Case, so let’s get to this:


41 comments on “Friday roundup: More MLS expansion drum beating, more wasteful non-sports subsidies, more bonkers Tottenham stadium delay stories

  1. Garber is MLS’ Commissioner, not president.

    But it’s gotta be hard to keep up with all the irrational soccer disdain. Maybe someone can build you an app.

    • Thanks for the correction, but I think you mean “irrational MLS disdain” — I like soccer just fine.

    • Come on Jason, have a sense of humor. You gotta admit that a Commissioner suggesting an expansion team for a city getting a expansion team already is pretty funny. Unless he’s serious and is suggesting Cincy could be like NY and LA and have TWO teams! Where’s the other stadium going???

      (Also a big soccer fan)

      • This is Garber’s master stroke… with two clubs in each city the rivalries won’t need fake sounding names like the current ones have…

        Both teams will have to have their own MLS calibre soccer only stadium of course. I mean, unless MLS decides they don’t like Seattle and NYC and Atlanta and, um, nevermind. They are our requirements, we can change them as and when we want. Just like credit card companies.

    • Many people in this country love soccer but hate the idea of a successful growing American league competing with leagues around the world but also your established traditional sports.

      • And why would that be? That would be irrational.

        Speaking for myself, I’ve enjoyed the MLS games I’ve attended, and I like other sports as well. There are 300 million people in the US and plenty of folks to draw from. We’re a big country with a long and proud tradition in soccer and in other sports. Live and let live.

        I always find it puzzling that many large countries aren’t as criticized for relative coolness soccer as the US is. India strikes me as a great example.

        • The internet changed previously closed markets for soccer. Soccer in a short time has made great gains in the US and Australia. Lately India and China have joined the party. Fact is there are Americans afraid of the status quo being shaken up. There soccer bashers and Euro snobs. The bashers are in the closet these days but come out on the internet. The Euro snobs think they’re special for becoming fans before other Americans and want to dump on MLS to show how knowledgeable they think they are. Yes , people are irrational.

  2. Regarding:
    “but it does drive home the craziness of Puerto Rico’s economic situation when a stadium will get torn down for the lack of less money than Dustin Pedroia was paid by the Boston Red Sox to play three games this year.”

    Dustin ($16 million) is of high value when you compare him to these other higher priced idle MLB players:
    David Wright – maybe 1 game – $20 million
    Jacoby Ellsbury – no games – $21 million
    Troy Tulowitzki – no games – $20 million
    Prince Fielder – no games – $24 million

    • Don’t forget Donaldson… and I think this is the last year the Dodgers will be paying Carl Crawford not to play for them?

      If MLB really wants to be seen as caring and helping, this would be the perfect opportunity for the league to offer $50-100m for reconstruction in Puerto Rico. It wouldn’t hurt if the PA offered to match it either.

    • Without government or subsides from MLB the sport is dying not just in Puerto Rico but other so called hotbeds. Fact is it’s fallen to fourth in the island popularity.

  3. As far as restaurants in Inglewood are concerned, this is where the Clipper arena project could help in a big way. Yes, you’re right in that an NFL stadium will only have so many dates per season but an NBA arena will most likely get over 100. The restaurants would benefit from THAT development, not the Rams & Chargers stadium

    • No way an Inglewood arena gets 100 dates per year. Between Staples, Honda Center, and the Forum (which was purpose renovated as a concert venue), not to mention others venues, there’s too much competition. The arena should never be built. If Ballmer wants a venue that he doesn’t have to share with another NBA team, he should move them to Anaheim. Or better yet he can take the Clippers to Seattle. The city is already throwing money at the Key Arena to prepare for an expansion NHL team, and they wouldn’t even have to change their name to keep with the region’s nautical theme.

      • You’re preaching to the choir as far as Anaheim is concerned. I think I’m the only person who actually started a non social media based website dedicated to moving the Clips to Honda Center, complete with open letters to both Steve Ballmer & Henry Samueli.

        Seattle would be fine but they wouldn’t be the Clippers. Any expansion or relocated team is obligated to call themselves the “Supersonics”.

        But my point stands. Even if they don’t get ANY events outside of the Clippers, you’re most likely looking at 43 dates plus the possibility of playoffs. That beats what the NFL stadium will be cranking out & is something that the restaurant people can count on for business.

        • Let’s do some oversimplified (and overly optimistic) math here:

          – Assume new arena has 19,000 capacity for basketball, same as Staples.
          – NBA pre+regular season home games = 46 games * 19,000 = 874,000

          – NFL pre+regular season home games = 10 games * 2 teams = 20 games * 70,000 = 1,400,000

          Neither venue will consistently sell out, so those are obviously maximum possible figures for pre and regular season sporting events at each venue. That means the arena would need 28 additional sellout events to match the total attendance of the stadium, assuming the stadium had zero other events during the year.

          • I need to get better organized. Takes all I got to get to a 7pm start on time after work, and I guess the rest on the world sits down to a nice dinner and still makes it on time.

      • Seattle is not throwing money at Key Arena! The owners of the new NHL team are paying for the new Seattle Arena out of their own pocket of $750 million……get your facts straight, thanks!

    • Obviously they need to up their bribe just to be considered candidates… I think the made up word they use for this is ‘incentivizing’.

    • My thoughts exactly. Went from the perfect child doing everything asked of them, to the POOR bastard step kid they don’t want anymore. Truly disgusting.

    • No he didn’t leave out Sacramento. When people start repeating stories the facts change, for instance Cincinnati being in the hunt for an expansion team.

  4. If they think it’s bad in Tottenham, try Lev Yashin Stadium in Moscow, the much-delayed future home of Dinamo Moscow. It’s been 8 years now, was supposed to be completed in time for the recent World Cup, and is proceeding at the pace of a medieval cathedral.

    • I was at Tottenham for a game as the project started and found myself very puzzled why such a project would be built in a cramped neighborhood with poor transit links.

      I’m as nostalgic as the next sports fan, and I realize the Olympic Stadium didn’t go as hoped for—but it just seemed crazy in 2014 to not be looking elsewhere.

    • As a life-long Dinamo fan I am as bemused and outraged by the insane anounts of money buried into what really did become a “construction site if the century”. However, our majestic home was not going to host any World Cup games, although it was supposed to per original plan. The decision was made years back, iirc circa 2012 (with a big reduction in capacity to boot) and boy did it bite our much-maligned club in a rather certain part of a metaphorical anathomy. But that’s a story for another day.

      The stadium (with a hockey/basketball arena literally attached to ii as a part of a big sporting complex) is almost ready (like, FINALLY) and we should be hosting games there next spring. I pass by once a week, marvelling at what a mere 10 years of countless moneylaundering schemes and insane amount of delays/remodelings can give you. Although, in fairness, Spartak and CSKA built their new stadiums in 8 and 9 years respectively, due to the many, many factors. Like a ton of people feasting on jaw-droppingly expensive Moscow land and trying to get their slice all the time. Zenit’s new stadium will give Jerryland a run for its money, and that takes some effort. Capitalism, ain’t it a treat.

      On a sidenote, great job with the site, Neil. Keep up the good work.

      • Thanks, but now I feel like I’ve been shirking on my Russian Premier League coverage. Ten years to finish a stadium? Maybe Hartford shouldn’t feel so bad now.

        • It is a massive rebuild basically, they could not just tear it down and build from scratch because some of the elements of the old stadium are of government-protected architectural heritage variety.

          Long story short, imagine tearing parts of MSG down and building a bigger and better thing. And having like three or four Dolans squabbling and arguing and changing the plans all the time. Add the in no way corrupt officials. And plenty of fun is on the cards, boy did I get to genuinely despise some of the people involved.

          Considering that in my experience NYC is probably one of the few places on the face of our planet that can proudly brag about sometimes genuinely insane land and property prices like we have here in Moscow, those ten years just flew by. Not quite, but you get the idea.

  5. The thing that often goes unmentioned about this new breed of super stadia like the one being built in Inglewood, is that they are designed to suck up as much money as possible from the paying ticket customers — mainly corporate guests these days — leaving precious little for the businesses that surround the facility. They serve as one-stop shops providing entertainment, food, socializing, you name it. Why would anyone bother patronizing an outside business when everthing you could possibly ask for is contained within? This fact is always conveniently glossed over when the sales pitch is made to the taxpayers and surrounding community.

  6. I guess not enough interest or money in Tampa Bay Rowdies for Don and his soccer MLS filthy rich bossmen to call on.

    • He’s got to keep a few potential sites for the next round of expansion… you know, after these final 7, errr, 9 err, 11 teams get added in this round.

  7. MLS is already a third teir league when compared to the 1st teir leagues in the world. It’s comparable to the League One in England. What they don’t need to do is dillute the talent any further.

    • The talent is certainly diluted when viewed as a whole. However, this is more a function of the salary cap than the availability of players. There are plenty of quality players in other leagues around the world that MLS could buy… but not with the current restrictions on Designated Players and the overall salary cap.

      The quality is improving (as the salary cap rises, not because of a handful of $6m players on the pitch with the $50k fill ins)… just look back ten years to see what it once was. That said, I agree with you that the quality is still not good enough.

      Let’s hope all this new expansion money gets filtered into the general salary cap for each team, not into more one off marketing exercises… or owner/operator profits.

  8. Sorry folks, you can’t get better players without lots of cash. You can’t get lot’s of cash without network money & sponsorships. You can’t get that without a national footprint. You can’t get a national footprint without expansion. It might be another 20-40 years before it falls all into place. But it will and that’s inevitable and scary to some. The other leagues can see it coming and either want into form partnership, play games, set up academies, get their games on major network , set New York office or even play Later Liga games in Miami.

    • I don’t think you are right. The global trend isn’t “expansion” to get money, it is reducing the number of competing teams to just have those teams who are serious players. Is there a single league expanding in Europe or South America right now?

      No…in fact the trend is the biggest teams trying to harvest more money for themselves and minimize the smaller leagues and teams. Not to mention trying to own more domestic money.

      US and European leagues have very different models, I agree, but I don’t think MLS is adding elite markets when we start talking about Cincinnati.

      • I agree with what’s going on in Europe, but MLS is a growing baby. Things are changing at a high speed. Today they need solid markets in the soccer resistant Midwest. With what’s going on in Columbus it made it impossible for Cincinnati not to get in. Also the presentation on TV will make it easier to argue more money on the next rights deal.

  9. The “development would have happened anyway without the incentives” is a difficult argument to make in a place like Detroit, especially if you’re talking about place a building thats been sitting empty for decades.

    • Actually, if anything in many cases the possibility of subsidies is what makes land sit undeveloped for decades, because somebody is holding it fallow to see if someone will offer a big windfall.

      It’s definitely a different calculus in Detroit vs Brooklyn (though parts of Detroit are getting more Brooklynish by the day, and there are still parts of Brooklyn that are pretty Detroity). But ultimately when you ask “Are subsidies convincing developers to do projects in places they otherwise would turn their noses up at,” in most cases the answer is no.

      • Sometimes the numbers on a development even in hot areas don’t make sense until city planners start throwing around that stolen property tax money. This will happen in historical districts with many restrictions and frivolous requirements.

      • A big difference between Brooklyn and Detroit is that Brooklyn has ridiculous prices in Manhattan pushing people into Brooklyn. There is nothing pushing people into Detroit. Its a whole different set of dynamics in the Rust Belt vs the East Coast.