Friday roundup: Skip right past the first four items and go directly to the hidden-camera video on the Austin soccer-vs.-soccer beef, you know you wanna

This was feeling like a long week even before Americans with guns decided to make a late rush to break last year’s record for most people killed in major mass shootings. Fortunately, we have news in the field of whether to devote scarce public resources to boosting the profits of professional sports team owners to amuse us! Ha ha! Are we amused yet?

  • Los Angeles has been selected as the host of next year’s inaugural World Urban Games, a thing that is like the Olympics only it involves sports no one cares about, like three-on-three basketball. (Though admittedly, the Olympics also involves plenty of sports no one cares about.) L.A. had to offer no actual money to be the host, just use of its sports venues, so if anyone actually travels to L.A. to see these things, there’s an actual chance this might work out to the city’s economic benefit! Crazy talk!
  • The group that wants to bring an MLB team to Portland has pulled its offer to buy the city’s school headquarters to build a stadium on the site, saying it would be better used for affordable housing. (Read: The community hated the stadium idea, and they didn’t want to fight about it.) The group will reportedly announce a new site by the end of the month, but it’s not worth holding your breath over because MLB isn’t giving Portland a team in the immediate future, if ever.
  • Saskatoon city officials are looking into building a new downtown arena for about $175 million because … they didn’t actually say why. The old one is old? Mark Rosentraub sold them on a new one? Not that a new downtown Saskatoon arena is necessarily a terrible idea, especially if the city can collect rent and other revenues from it, but an even less terrible idea would be focusing on “Do we need a new arena?” before jumping straight to “How can we build one?”
  • There’s a new pro-ticket tax group in Columbus calling itself Protect Art 4 Columbus that describes itself as “a group of art enthusiasts, sports fans and other community members,” and if this isn’t an Astroturf group, they really needed to come up with a name that made themselves sound less like one.
  • I do not have the energy to explain the beef between the wannabe Austin MLS team owner and the wannabe Austin USL team owner and how they’re both building stadiums and supporters of one stadium are accusing supporters of another stadium of lying about their ballot petitions by saying “we’re trying to build a soccer stadium” when it’s really to stop the other guys from building a soccer stadium, so just watch the video, it’s blurry and confusing and shot in portrait mode, just like the kids today all like!

4 comments on “Friday roundup: Skip right past the first four items and go directly to the hidden-camera video on the Austin soccer-vs.-soccer beef, you know you wanna

  1. Assuming the commissioner is serious about expanding to 32 teams, I think Portland has a reasonable chance of getting one of those teams. Beyond the general hurdles of expansion, here are the Portland-specific hurdles:

    1. As Craig Cheek (PDP President) has stated, the ownership group will need to commit at least $2 billion in private funds between an expansion fee, stadium funding, paying off the Mariners/A’s/Giants for media territory rights, and other startup costs. That’s a lot of dough for a small market team but that hasn’t stopped them yet.

    (Side note – rationally, it seems like it would be easier to just buy the A’s or Rays and build them a new stadium, but there is a lot of belief in Portland, long term, as a midsize to large market located conveniently between Seattle and the California teams – at minimum that’s a safer bet than some of the midwestern franchises who will face aging stadiums and shrinking demographics over the next 20-40 years)

    2. MLB has to approve the ownership group. Since MLB has said nice things of late about Portland’s effort, that leads me to believe that they are happy to welcome that person into their exclusive club.

    3. MLB has to be OK with the precedent that would be set if Portland moves forward with a stadium that is at least 80% privately funded.

    The site that was formally pulled from consideration, while strategically located for transportation and infrastructure, has been a nonstarter for a while, and PDP has been focused on several sites on the west bank of the Willamette River for past 4-5 months now. I think their “dream location” is the Zidell property in the South Waterfront neighborhood, and their fallback location is Terminal 2 in Northwest Portland. Either way, they want to lock up the property now so they can continue to generate enthusiasm (“cool stadium renderings!”), spur the A’s and Ray’s to get their deals done, and be ready when MLB comes knocking.

    Still a lot of hurdles, but I think the effort is legitimate and realistic about what it will take, so we’ll see what happens.

    • That all sounds reasonable to me, except for Portland being a “midsized to large market” longterm. It’s not especially close to midsized now, and lots of cities behind it (Oklahoma City, for example) are growing as fast or faster.

      • Fair enough. By “large” market I was thinking “large enough to sustainably support 3-4 major sports teams”, not a top 10 market per se.

        It’s true that some other top 40 markets are growing at a faster rate than PDX (San Antonio/Vegas/Orlando come to mind), there are other factors that make some people (like the mystery person, probably a California gazillionaire) believe PDX’s economic and population growth is more sustainable (housing, “crane index”, industries, climate change, “cache”) than, say, Oklahoma City.

        • Looks like the smallest market to have three pro teams is Pittsburgh, which indeed is no bigger than Portland. Next lowest is Denver, though, and Portland ain’t gonna be no Denver anytime soon.

          Portland is a fine enough city, but it would be easily in the bottom half of MLB markets both now and for the foreseeable future. At least until Miami and Phoenix have to be abandoned as unlivable, anyway.

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