Friday roundup: Raiders’ Oakland deal still not done, A’s stadium plan gets rounder edges, Flames arena vote delayed

Let’s get right to the week’s news roundup:

  • NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Monday that Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis was on the verge of an agreement with Oakland officials to stay put in Oakland for 2019 and possibly 2020, and four days later, they still appear to have moved no closer than the verge. More news as events warrant, if they ever do.
  • We have new renderings for the proposed Oakland A’s stadium at Howard Terminal, and they look slightly less doofy than the old renderings, or at least somewhat less angular. Odds that any ballpark will look remotely like this if a Howard Terminal stadium is ever built: two infinities to one. Odds that a Howard Terminal stadium is ever built: Somewhat better, but I still wouldn’t hold your breath.
  • The Calgary city council put off a vote on a term sheet for a new Flames arena on Tuesday, after a marathon meeting that the public was barred from. They’ll be meeting in private again on Monday, and still plan not to tell anyone what the deal looks like until they’ve negotiated it with the Flames owners, which Calgary residents are not super happy about.
  • Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer still really really wants a new arena of his own by 2024, and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times show that he met with Inglewood Mayor James Butts as early as June 2016 to try to get Madison Square Garden to give up its lease on his preferred arena site before they found out he wanted to build an arena there. This is mostly of interest if you like gawking at warring sports billionaires, but if you do you’re in luck, because the battle seems likely to continue for a long time yet.
  • The Miami Marlins are turning the former site of their Red Grooms home run sculpture in center field into a “three-tier millennial park” with $10 standing-room tickets, because apparently millennials are broke and hate sitting down? They’ve gotta try something, I guess, and this did help get them a long Miami Herald article about their “rebranding” efforts, so sure, millennial park it is.
  • Building a football stadium for a college football team and hoping to fill it up with lots of Bruce Springsteen concerts turns out, shockingly, not to have been such a great idea. UConn’s Rentschler Field loses money most years, and hasn’t hosted a major concert since 2007, with the director of the agency that runs it griping, “The summers are generally slow, the springs are generally muddy, and the falls are UConn’s.” And nobody built lots of new development around a stadium that hosts only nine events a year, likewise shockingly. It still could have been worse, though: Hartford could have spent even more money on landing the New England Patriots.
  • Speaking of failed sports developments, the new Detroit Red Wings arena district is “shaping up to be a giant swath of blacktop,” reports Deadline Detroit, which also revealed that the city has failed to penalize the team’s owners for missing development deadlines, and has held out the possibility of more public subsidies if he ever does build anything around the arena. At least the Ilitches are finally paying for the extra police needed to work NHL games, though, so that’s something.
  • Oklahoma City is considering using up to $92 million to build a 10,000-seat USL stadium that could later be expanded for MLS, because of course they are.
  • Here is an article that cites “an economic development expert” as saying that hosting a Super Bowl could be worth $1 billion in “economic activity” to Las Vegas, saying he based this on the results of last year’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis. Actual increased tax receipts for Minneapolis during the game: $2.4 million. It took me 30 seconds to research this, but apparently the Las Vegas Review-Journal is too high and mighty to use Google. Do not reward them with your clicks.
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12 comments on “Friday roundup: Raiders’ Oakland deal still not done, A’s stadium plan gets rounder edges, Flames arena vote delayed

  1. Seriously, is there any good reason why Oakland doesn’t just say “you want to play here, that’ll be $50 million/season, bitch?”

    The city has the team and the NFL over a barrel here. What have they got to lose?

    1. I originally thought they would agree on something in the $8-10m per season range, which is a significant amount of money for Oakland/the JPA to get for 8-10 football games. It’s not great, but it’s decent. And they still have their lawsuit in play to recoup some or all of the cost of the Mount Davis and other renovations for the Raiders return in ’95.

      You are right, they could have demanded more. But at some point the Raiders would have been better off playing a single season in front of no fans at all in Birmingham or Tucson or Boise… so the “options were down to one” really isn’t true… Oakland or Sam Boyd might have been the only realistic options, but Oakland is only an option if the cost to play one more season there is less than the financial hit of playing to an empty stadium with no sponsors somewhere else.

      I would have liked to see them get a little more than they did, but I think they did ok all things considered.

      Anyone know if it is the JPA or the Raiders who are paying the $300-350k changeover costs for baseball to football conversions and back? Again, some creative scheduling could minimize the number of changeovers required… but I don’t expect to see any thought go into that at all.

      1. Retroactive outside-the-box thinking: It’s really all about TV, so you announce a contest for US high schools. Create a video telling the world why you should host the Raiders this year. Post it on YouTube. Winning school gets 8 Raiders games. Students get the tix. PR extravaganza.

  2. My prediction, The Oakland Squatters. The Raiders just set up shop in the coliseum without a lease and without permission. Like meth dealers in an abandoned building.

  3. mb— that would fit right into Oakland.

    As for Rentschler I have only been there once — for Landon Donovan’s last national team game. I thought it a nice place to watch soccer. The problem was it took us an hour to find our car as the lot is so nondescript.

  4. God yes, build the Millennial park. I hope there’s cattle fences and it turns out to be some giant social experiment dreamed up by Richard Florida.

    I really felt like the plan for the arena district as envisioned was dead when Mike Ilitch died. I think it was his baby and his passion project, and only he could have had any chance of pulling it off. I’d bet it’s way too ambitious for his kids to pull off. Instesd it will probably take an ungodly long amount of time to come anywhere close to that.

  5. Maybe I’m behind but why are there two cranes in the rendering where those cranes are disconnected from everything by a pedestrian promenade? Are these meant to be functional or merely decorative? It’s not quite clear as they do seem to have some space next to them to load and unload containers, but not much, and they seem to be, in fact, loading and unloading video game energy pellets.

    Anyways, if functional, how would they move containers to the railroad and freeway on the other side of the stadium? If not functional, don’t container cranes go for something in the 8 figures (just guessing–I’ve never priced out putting an industrial crane in my living room) therefore presumably adding a substantial expense to the stadium? I realize cranes are cool but wouldn’t it be cheaper to just oriented a stadium so the outfield was located by a functional crane like the ones you see in the distance behind home plate. And don’t you usually put the main entrance near home plate, not center field anyways meaning you could flip the stadium’s orientation, improve ingress and not have to buy like $25M in extra cranes just to look cool?

    So many questions.

    1. I believe this is the Oakland version of the Red Grooms statue… honouring the tradition of, errrm, cargo container shipping in the terminal district.

      Since real Davit cranes go for 8 figures, you’d have to think that decorative imitation ones are going to cost at least twice that… maybe more if they aren’t fixed in position and can articulate to simulate an actual working crane.

      But you can’t put a price on honouring the rich heritage of, um, shipping cargo, right?

    2. If you flipped the stadium’s orientation, batters would be looking directly into the setting sun. While there are reasons to think that there’s an advantage to having a pitchers’ park as a home stadium, this might be carrying it a bit too far.

      1. Oh, good point. Maybe that’s the origin of all of this. Someone said “it would be cool if there was a crane visible over the outfield” without thinking that most of the port is in West Oakland, which as the name implies is to the west.

        I’m still wondering if these cranes are meant to be functional or decorative, if functional how they are going to be connected to rail and roads and if decorative if they are baked into the costs or if the Port of Oakland is expected to just contribute a couple of cranes for free.

        1. With a little courage that would be a great way to get to the “Millennial SRO $10 party deck” that everyone needs now.

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