Friday roundup: Chargers L.A. move still a disaster, Raiders still lack 2019 home, Rays still short of stadium cash

I’ve been busy getting my post-Village Voice life rolling this week — here’s my first article for Gothamist, on how to fight Amazon’s monopoly power, and I’ve also started a Twitter account for following ex-Voice news writers as we keep up our work for other outlets — but Friday mornings are sacred, for they are stadium and arena news roundup time:


40 comments on “Friday roundup: Chargers L.A. move still a disaster, Raiders still lack 2019 home, Rays still short of stadium cash

  1. How bad will the move be for the Chargers long term? While LA is big – how large will the fan base grow to going forward. Two new teams, kids will become Rams fans because – the Rams are better, have a fancy new quarterback, an exciting offense and will dominate the news. Young adults will probably be bandwagon fans. I don’t know if the Rams v1.0 fans have stayed fans or set their alliances elsewhere after they were deserted.

    But who will be the core Charger fans. The Mets, who inherited a lot of Dodger and Giant fans, still are significantly less popular than the Yankees and have been, but for a blip in the mid-1980s. Devils (who have been way more successful) and Nets – not as popular as Rangers or Knicks, respectively.

    Maybe in the NFL attendance doesn’t matter – just get a share of the TV rights, but then why are we building fancy stadiums again?

    • Watch the Chargers spin this into moving back to San Diego and screwing them financially in a manner similar to how the Raiders did Oakland in the mid 90s.

    • I just don’t see the Chargers in LA long-term. Yes, LA is a huge market but no matter how big it is there are only so many big-time sponsors and the Rams will ALWAYS be the preferred partner because it’s their stadium. The Chargers are just tenants so the team’s value will always be depressed due to that and they’ll always be an afterthought. It was dumb for the NFL to let them move there to begin with.

      • Agreed Jeff, it is hard to see the Chargers truly flourish (financially at least) as a tenant in the Rams’ owner’s stadium.

        But, many of us said the same thing when Sterling moved the Clippers to LA. We gloated while they failed, largely due to Sterling’s incompetent and shameful ownership style. Ultimately, though, they were valued at about $650m when he put them on the market (and sold for considerably more than that because rich kids have to have better sandboxes than other rich kids).

        Would the San Diego Clippers have appreciated to even $650m by 2014 if they had stayed in San Diego (even if we assume they would have gotten a new arena)?

        Maybe they don’t have to be as valuable as the Rams but can still be more valuable than the San Diego Chargers would have been.

        Personally, I would always prefer to be the ‘big’ attraction in town, even if it was a smaller city and thus a smaller business as a result (but still a good one to own). But that is when looked at as an ongoing business to run. I guess that could change if the plan is to move the team to LA and, once set up in the new building, sell.

        The only way this makes any sense to me is if Spanos views the move as a delayed cashout. My understanding is that he has said he has no plans to sell the team, however.

  2. Long shot prediction, Raiders play in Reno next year. It’s no where near Vegas, but it has an adequate 27,000 seat stadium. Better weather than Las Vegas, and it can help to establish the Raiders as Nevada’s team. It’s crazy, but it might just work.

    • I still don’t see why they won’t play at Sam Boyd, unless Davis and Gruden both know the product is going to be so stinking horrible for the next 20 months that they don’t want their new fan base to see it (is this some kind of warped ‘reveal’?).

      But sure, if the existing Vegas stadium is out why not Reno. It makes more sense than a lame duck no marketing season in San Antonio, St. Louis or San Diego.

      Instead of London, though, can we talk about Mexico City… at least for four games?

      • Two games each in San Diego, San Antonio, St. Louis, and Mexico City? Given that their business plan, such as it is, is to convince fans to go vacation in Vegas and take in Raiders games while they’re there, there are dumber ideas than building a fan base in a whole bunch of scattered cities at once. (I mean, their business plan is dumb too, but may as well go for broke with it.)

        • Sure, why not Neil?

          It seems to me that the major problem with using the Raiders as a road team to showcase NFL football in far off lands (be it London, Tokyo, Mexico City etc) is that the Raiders seem pretty intent on being an awful team for the next two seasons.

          Gruden is many things, but he is not stupid. Some of his early decisions cannot be explained any way other than the team intending to lose and harvest high end draft picks for the next two seasons in preparation for their new home.

          When there is no sizzle, it’s hard to sell the sizzle instead of the steak, isn’t it?

        • How about playing all their road games and forfeiting all their home games? So they finish 2-14, how much worse is that than 6-10?

          • Hmmmn. Interesting idea. If your only goal is to get the highest draft picks possible, 2-14 is actually a lot better than 6-10.

      • It gets too hot in Vegas to play afternoon games outdoors. UNLV’s games are all in the evening. The NFL won’t allow the Raiders to play all their games at night. 4 Raider games in London would be a good test to see if the market works.

        • That’s funny, I’m quite sure the Cardinals played outside in Tempe for many years before their new publicly funded palace was ‘negotiated’ and built.

          Very similar to the heat related complaints about the Qatar world cup. Yeah, it will be hot. It was hot in Mexico City in July 1986 too, and the air is much thinner there.

          The temperature angle doesn’t really work. It is hot, obviously, but the Raiders could start with a 3 game road series, then a couple of night games… there is no practical reason why they have to start playing home games in the afternoon in the desert until late October or even November.

    • Mark, they can do a package deal with Nevada-Reno. Play one year at the stadium and build together a training camp that will be used by the University and the Raiders. And liek you say…it builds a market to northern Nevada and keeps some Nor Cal fans coming back every summer on I-80.

      • Reno probably won’t happen for a full season. The NFL tried the same state/different city when the Oilers left Houston. They cut short a 2-year stay in Memphis after the first season due to empty stands and no community support.

        Also, Neil, I doubt that either San Diego or St Louis would welcome the NFL on a temporary basis – even just 2 games.

        Those who say “how bad could Sam Boyd be?” have never sat outside on the metal bleachers in 110 degree heat at Sun Devil Stadium in October. Sitting on blocks of ice and snow in the Meadowlands was more comfortable.

        One or two games in San Antonio could work, but the welcome mat might not last as that city will never get a permanent franchise as long as Jones runs the Cowboys.

        • Why do you think San Diego and St. Louis would turn down a temporary visit from the Raiders? Cities are usually pretty eager to show off their fan base for future expansions or relocations, even cities that have gotten burned in the past. And we know both the mayors of those cities were in favor of NFL stadium projects, even if they couldn’t get them passed. (Krewson has since taken over for Slay in St. Louis, but she was a stadium backer as well as an alderman.)

          • St. Louis just handed the Rams their first loss of the season, so I’m personally doubtful that Mark “St. Louis isn’t a Raiders kind of town” Davis will be visiting the Gateway City soon with the NFL’s blessing:

            https://www.stltoday.com/sports/football/professional/rams-kroenke-lose-another-round-in-court-over-st-louis/article_643677db-ac01-540c-b575-4d89f8cf3034.html

            Nota bene: The billionaire Taylor family is making fresh MLS –> STL noise …

            https://www.stltoday.com/business/local/soccer-gets-another-shot-in-st-louis-as-family-that/article_f77a29a7-9a97-577e-84ea-92107ace964c.html

  3. Maybe this is Shahid Khan’s secret plan: Charge Mark Davis through the nose to play at Wembley until his Vegas stadium is ready.

    • I think the NFLPA would object to a team playing too many neutral and away games. Becoming a barnstorming act. But you never know. NFLPA is pretty useless compared to football and basketball unions.

  4. “If you don’t have a smartphone, you’re not totally out of luck. Simply call the LCA box office (313-471-7929) ahead of time or head over to the the box office on the day of the game to get your tickets.”

    So technically they didn’t get rid of physical tickets but got rid of being able to print them out at home/work…..okay.

    Also I thought Lambeau Field already was a destination stadium? How much more of a destination can you make out of Lambeau Field at this point?

    • The St. Louis Blues did a similar thing this year with tickets. They also announced a bunch of contingencies. As long as you know your own email address, they can help you out at the ticket office.

    • New Yori Islanders doing the smart phone thingy this year. My sales rep said there were problems with fraudulent tickets when printed. Really? Supposedly you can get help at office if you know your seat number, credit card it was bought on, etc. Great, since my phone is on the fritz, intermittently not working

  5. From the USA Today article on University stadiums:

    “A lot, if not most, of the money for these multimillion-dollar facilities comes from private donors.”

    Why can’t NFL teams set up a non-profit and then pass the cup around?? Sigh.

  6. “[R]eal-estate development can be extremely lucrative, especially when your ownership of a sports team gives you a leg up on getting access to cheap land”

    Is there any non-cheap land in Green Bay? I mean I’ve never been to Green Bay (admit it, either have you) but I have to think “real estate in a rust belt city, population 100k” is not exactly scarce even if that city does come with a perennially decent sports team.

    • Yeah, I imagine they intend to create a ‘stadium village’ type complex where they can get people to come early, stay late and spend even more money than they otherwise would have… if for no reason other than that it’s more fun than sitting in traffic for hours.

      Is that likely to be a more attractive package than Sunday Ticket? Don’t know… and as I spend no money on the NFL either in person or in my living room, I’m the wrong person to answer that anyway.

  7. So the Rays are going to ask for the county and state to make up a $300 million shortfall in new stadium funding just after they went and bought the Tampa Bay Rowdies USL team, huh? That doesn’t seem like good optics.

  8. I’m sure it will all work out for us NFL guys, it always does. It’s our good karma for giving the citizenry the gift of football. It’s the gift that keeps on giving – giving us public stadium cash that is!

    I’ve been away from this site for a while but nothing’s changed–it’s still bash the NFL-land here but that doesn’t deter old Piggy, no sir. It was sad times for me when Stan the Man torpedoed the L.A. con game once and for all and poor Piggy had to ease the pain with a lot of $200-a-bottle cognac.

    But I’m feeling chipper now and I’m sure there are more municipalities out there looking to give to the NFL ’til it hurts!

    • Piggy!

      Good to see you back. We were worried you might have suffered a permanently debilitating injury wheelbarrowing all that taxpayer money into your vault (there’s some things you just don’t trust the hired help to do, right?)

      I’m not sure we made the right call on Mr. Walton either. He showed some early promise helping that ridiculous TW Dome deal along, but he better not get any ideas about feeding on the rest of us. I think this China tariff thing has got him and the Mrs. down a little. It’s all short term stuff though. We can always buy a new president when necessary.

      • Back in 1997 one of the first jokes I got forwarded to me on email was “Microsoft annouces acquisition of the US government” At some point during Ballmer’s tenure as CEOit was surpassed. Thats hot tech works

  9. the NFL should flip the Raiders and San Diego; with the Raiders going to LA and the Chargers in Vegas.

  10. Rangers stadium seats are higher and more inclined. Closer doesn’t mean anything when you can’t see what is happening in front of you.

    Also, the new stadium is (still) being built in direct opposition to the MLB rulebook on field guidelines. Which is precisely why the Rangers needed a new field in the first place because the seats were in the sun, or so they miraculously discovered, after 20 years in the same stadium which also violates the MLB rulebook on orientation.

    • They’re more inclined because they’re closer (horizontally) to the field. That incline is what allows you to see over the fans in front of you despite being relatively closer to the action.

      There is a widespread misconception that “steep” means “far,” where in fact it often means the opposite.

  11. I’ve been talking to people with knowledge about the Sacramento Kings arena deal, and apparently, sales tax revenues are essentially unchanged in Sacramento since the arena opened. This does not mean the entire financing plan has failed, since parking revenues are a big part of the equation, as well as rent payments, but it is a big part.

    Frankly, I don’t see why parking revenues would be up if sales tax revenues are not. Just my opinion on this point.

    This might be an even bigger failure than I predicted. What if revenues overall rise by $0?

    This is backdrop for a sales tax hike on the ballot that appears to be failing.

    • Mike, do you know if this is publicly accessible (or FOILable) data? Seems like it’s important if true — not because it would leave the arena underwater necessarily, but because it would debunk any notion that people are spending more money in Sacramento because of the new arena.

  12. The new arena of the Detroit Pistons and Red Wings will no longer issue or accept printed tickets, meaning you’d better have a smartphone and keep it charged when heading to a game. I guess this saves some trees, but it probably also makes it easier for the teams to track ticketholders’ data, which is what it’s all about these days.

    The Jets are now encouraging season ticket holders to go back to the paper parking passes. It’s been a disaster entering the lot and the games with the move to the phones.

  13. In other Detroit arena news:

    Big promises for a thriving urban core in Detroit vanish in a swath of parking lots

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/oct/08/detroit-the-district-redevelopment-ilitch-companies