Friday roundup: Vikings get $6m in upgrades for two-year-old stadium, Sacramento finds rich guy to give soccer money to, CSL screws up yet another stadium study

No time to dawdle today, I got magnets to mail, so let’s get right down to it:

  • The Minnesota Vikings‘ two-years-and-change-old stadium is getting $6 million in renovations, including new turf, and taxpayers will foot half the bill, because of course they will.
  • Billionaire Ron Burkle is becoming the majority owner of the USL Sacramento Republic, so now Mayor Darrell Steinberg wants to give the team “tens of millions of dollars” in infrastructure and development rights and free ad signage so that he can build an MLS stadium. “The richer you are, the more money we give you” is the strangest sort of socialism, but here we are, apparently.
  • Concord, an East Bay suburb until now best known as “where the BART yellow line terminated until they extended it,” is considering building an 18,000-seat USL stadium. No word yet on how much it’ll cost or how much the city will chip in, but they probably first need to wait to see how rich the team’s owner is.
  • Not everyone in Allen, Texas wants to live across the street from a cricket stadium, go figure.
  • Everybody’s favorite dysfunctional economic consultants Convention, Sports & Leisure have done it again, determining that Montreal would be a mid-level MLB market without bothering to take into account the difference between Canadian and American dollars. (Once the exchange rate is factored in, Montreal’s median income falls to second-worst in MLB, ahead of only Cleveland.) CSL explained in a statement to La Presse that it wanted to show “the relative purchasing power” of Montrealers, and anyway they explained it in a footnote, so quit your yapping.
  • The Milwaukee Brewers are going to change the name of their stadium from one corporate sponsor to another, and boy, are fans mad. Guys, you know you are free to call it whatever you want, right? Even something that isn’t named for a corporation that paid money for the privilege!
  • Local officials in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. are still working on an interstate compact to agree not to spend public money on a stadium for Dan Snyder’s Washington NFL team, though passage still seems unlikely at best, and the history of these things working out effectively isn’t great. Maybe it’ll get a boost now that team execs have revealed that the stadium design won’t include a surfboard moat after all. Nobody respects the vaportecture anymore.
  • The libertarian Goldwater Institute is suing to force the release of a secret Phoenix Suns arena study paid for by the team and conducted by sports architects HOK, but currently kept under lock and key by the city. (Literally: The study reportedly is kept in locked offices and is only allowed to be accessed by a “very limited number” of people. Also, a citizen group is trying to force a public referendum on the recently approved Suns arena subsidy, though courts have generally not been too keen on allowing those to apply retroactively to deals that already went through. And also also, one of the two councilmembers who voted against the Suns subsidy thinks the city could have cut a better deal. Odds on any of this hindsight amounting to anything: really slim, but maybe it can help inform the next city to face one of these renovation shakedowns, if anyone on other city councils reading out-of-town news or this site and ultimately cares, which, yeah.
  • Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis and Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke signed agreements to cover the NFL’s legal costs in any lawsuit over those teams’ relocations, and they’re both being sued now (by Oakland and St. Louis respectively), and NFL lawyers are really pricey. Kroenke is reportedly considering suing the league over this, which I am all for as the most chaotically entertaining option here.
  • Wilmington, Delaware is being revitalized by the arrival of a new minor-league basketball team, so make your vacation plans now! Come for the basketball, stay for the trees and old cars! Synergy!

19 comments on “Friday roundup: Vikings get $6m in upgrades for two-year-old stadium, Sacramento finds rich guy to give soccer money to, CSL screws up yet another stadium study

  1. Unfortunately, any stadium design that improved the NFL “game day experience” would probably exclude about 50% of people who attend NFL games.

  2. ” …it can help inform the next city to face one of these renovation shakedowns”

    Hell, it won’t even help inform Phoenix the next time it faces a shakedown. I see this as a harbinger of a new stadium for the Diamondbacks.

  3. I hope it works out for Wilmington. I’m a sucker for cities with a ton of historical sites. Also the nearby Cooch’s Bridge makes my inner 12 year old laugh.

    Happy Friday.

  4. Normally I’m mostly in agreement with you but your comments about Wilmington are pretty clueless. WHYY is one of the best journalism outlets around. It holds itself to a standard that the vast majority of sites you link on here don’t come close to, and I’m really not sure why you felt the need to take that completely unnecessary shot at the city and a historical site within it. It was pretty classless and cowardly. There’s a lot more to that city than “trees and old cars”.

    • That museum was the #1 hit on TripAdvisor for things to do in Wilmington. WHYY may be a fine news outlet, and Wilmington may be a fine place to live, but the notion that a minor-league basketball team is going to revitalize anything is, I hope we can agree, laughable.

      • The Blue Coats drew “2/3 of 2500” (or approx. 1500) on Opening Night. Once the crowd of slackjawed gawkers disperses and they’re drawing 800-1000 a night for the 25 home games a G-League team plays, we’ll see how much of a wholly transformative economic impact it has in revitalizing the local economy. No word yet from the Governor’s office on how it’s going to transform the Wilmington economy on the 340 nights a year they’re not playing minor league hoops.

  5. I lived in Concord for almost 10 years. The draw for fans will be mostly from Walnut Creek, Danville, Blackhawk … the rich areas to the south. Concord itself is kindof a shithole.

  6. I thought the most famous thing from Concord was the HR Steam Cleaning System from Safe Muffins.

  7. Good news on the Raiders front… I’ve always suspected at least half of the support for the move from the NFL owners’ club was because they think it might be the quickest way to get the Davis family out of their club.

    I also liked the city’s choice of attorneys, and the fact that his firm is working for a (no doubt healthy) share of the award/settlement.

    This is going to be great fun to watch…

    • The lawyers are actually doing the case on contingency. The legal team approached the city about rather than the other way around (wanted more clients with necessary legal standing to file suit).

      Raiders fans ignore this and accuse the city of throwing money away for the suit “LOL Davis will take them to school, he’s playing chess when they’re playing checkers”.

      (It’s pretty likely the people who keep using that metaphor have never actually played chess.)

      They also think that the city refused to sign an agreed-upon lease, rather than Davis demanding “you can’t sue me” as part of the terms and walking away when the city didn’t agree to that term.

  8. A USL stadium with 18,000 seats?

    Have they looked at the average USL attendance, even for their ‘bigger’ clubs? There are (several) MLS clubs that couldn’t fill that big a stadium on a regular basis.

  9. You missed the best part of the Suns story. Not only did the Suns say they needed a NDA to protect their trade secrets (which lol Suns), but they also claimed that Pheonix would then miss out on reaping the benefits of all these innovative marketing strategies.

  10. Gathering of signatures, to put the Suns vote to the public, has started.
    https://twitter.com/drewchavez/status/1089009813428658176

    • The petition signers know the vote has already been completed, right?

      Remind me how the Goldwater Institute’s actions against Glendale city council’s (horrendously onerus) deals with the Coyotes went?

  11. People should make there plans to head to Wilmington, DE in July for the Ladybug Festival, an annual event celebrating women in music.

  12. Don’t forget that the state of Minnesota chipped in roughly $10 million dollars to get the NCAA Final Four here. Reports says that the tax contribution overall has actually been HIGHER for the Final Four than the Super Bowl, which itself was a waste of everyone’s time and money. I say that as a Minneapolis resident who had to deal with the increase in traffic and people wondering how it is that people in Minnesota have any amenities at all.

  13. More analysis, or fallout, from the Phoenix Suns deal:

    How the Phoenix Suns arena deal went from dead-in-the-water to an easy victory
    https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2019/01/30/phoenix-suns-arena-deal-went-dead-arrival-easy-victory-city-council-robert-sarver/2681145002/

    ‘Gaggle’ podcast: Breaking down the politics of funding local sports arenas
    https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/arizona/2019/01/30/politics-funding-phoenix-suns-arena-talking-stick-local-sports-the-gaggle-podcast/2700697002/