Friday roundup: Nashville saves (?) $75m by giving Predators $103m, South Carolina offers to give $125m to Panthers practice facility (?!), Oakland A’s shipping cranes are multiplying (?!?)

Since last week I went off-topic to discuss a review (kindly) poking fun at some of the ridiculousness of Marvel movies, I should note that there’s a TV series that manages to create a fun, exciting superhero universe while simultaneously poking fun at the entire genre in ways that expose not just its ridiculousness but also its fundamentally Manichean politics, and which has now been canceled by Amazon, a company that has been at the forefront of scheming to shake down cities for subsidies in exchange for building its own facilities. Coincidence?!?!?!? Well, okay, yes, almost certainly, but here’s hoping The Tick ends up picked up by a less ethically compromised corporate entertainment giant, if that’s even a thing.

Where was I? Oh right, stadiums, what’s up with those this week that we didn’t get to already?

  • The Nashville Predators have indeed agreed to a 30-year lease extension as first reported last week, and how good or bad a deal it is depends on your perspective: The team’s $8.4 million a year in tax kickbacks and operating subsidies will be reduced to just $4.9 million a year in tax kickbacks, which would be $75 million in taxpayer savings but on the other hand the tax kickbacks will be extended to 2049 now instead of 2028, so that’s $102.9 million in additional taxpayer costs. (Neither figure translated into present value.)
  • A South Carolina legislative conference committee has approved $115 million in tax breaks for a Carolina Panthers practice facility in Rock Hill. Yes, you read that right, a practice facility. State officials say that the 15-year tax kickbacks of all state income taxes will pay for themselves, a conclusion that state senator Dick Harpootlian determined was based on, in the words of the Associated Press, “every Panthers player and coach moving to South Carolina and spending their entire paychecks here and the team buying all the material for the new facility from companies in the state.”
  • Speaking of practice facilities, the Washington Wizards‘ new one is costing $1 million more a year for D.C. to run than anticipated, which is not good after the city already spent $50 million to build the thing for the team’s billionaire owner. D.C. officials recently booked three new concerts for the arena, but expects to lose money on each of them; an Events D.C. board member said they would let “people know that they have a place to go, that this is a fun place,” which I guess is another way of saying they’ll make it up in volume.
  • Omaha is spending $750,000 on hosting an Olympic swim meet, which on the one hand is a lot cheaper than $115 million for an NFL practice facility, and on the other is for a one-time Olympic swim meet.
  • Two unnamed sources tell The Athletic’s Sam Stejskal that New England Revolution owner Robert Kraft is “on the brink of securing a stadium site,” which tells us nothing about the state of the Revolution’s actual stadium plans since this could be a planted rumor to try to gain momentum, but does tell us lots about The Athletic’s poor grasp of the Society of Professional Journalists’ ethics policy on use of unnamed sources.
  • I wrote a thing for Gothamist about how the New York Mets banned backpacks because they have too many pockets to easily search, but not other bags with lots of pockets, pretty much on the grounds of “the light’s better over here.” The best argument either of the security experts could come up with for the policy is that fewer bags means faster lines which means less time queued up outside stadiums as a stationary target for any theoretical terrorists, which is frankly mostly an argument for staying home and watching on TV.
  • Journalist Taylor C. Noakes notes in an op-ed for CBC News that bringing back the Expos might be nice for Montreal baseball fans, but probably won’t do much for the Montreal economy since “the economic impact of a professional baseball team on a given city [is] roughly equivalent to that of a mid-sized department store,” which, yup.
  • The latest Oakland A’s renderings show it still oddly glowing amid a darkened rest of the city. Plus now there are shipping cranes on both corners of the site! I am about to start working on a theory that this entire stadium plan is just a dodge for John Fisher to build lots of shipping cranes.

14 comments on “Friday roundup: Nashville saves (?) $75m by giving Predators $103m, South Carolina offers to give $125m to Panthers practice facility (?!), Oakland A’s shipping cranes are multiplying (?!?)

  1. Arizona Diamondbacks Renderings Leaked?

    https://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2019/05/16/were-new-diamondback-ballpark-images-leaked.html

    • Another article on those Diamondback renderings.
      https://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/mlb/diamondbacks/2019/05/20/arizona-diamondbacks-stadium-images-leaked-architectural-firm/3745263002/

  2. Trust me Neil, THE TICK got cancelled because the head of Amazon Studios doesn’t understand it, and because it doesn’t draw a large enough aud to overcome that.

    I can tell you second hand that Amazon corporate has zero influence over Studios. People at Amazon view Studios as a Bezos sandbox that has little relation to the core business.

    • The value of a show to Amazon isn’t actually how many people watch it, it’s how many people sign up for Amazon (at least in part) in order to watch it. But I guess if the only metric you have is a hammer…

  3. The Montreal situation is an interesting one, given that the mayor herself has stated that she’ll only approve of public spending on a new ballpark if directed as such via a referendum.

    In contrast to most mayors of “big league” cities who don’t want to be seen as the one who let a team go under their watch, their current mayor looks like she doesn’t want to be seen as the one who spent tax dollars on a stadium to *bring a team in*. Don’t know if “refreshing” is the right word for it, but I think that’s a mentality that I can appreciate.

  4. The renderings make it clear that the Oakland A’s new stadium is being designed to serve as the last bastion of civilization following the apocalypse. Surely this is worth spending taxpayer dollars on, amiright?

    • In that case, putting it at current sea level doesn’t seem like a very smart move.

  5. The Omaha swim meet makes financial sense which is something unusual
    round here. The swimmers from all over the states will bring family and friends and based on my experiences with my kids, a lot of these are on high end and not afraid to spend.

    • It makes financial sense if Omaha turns a profit on it, which will be hard to do with a local sales tax rate of 1.5%. By spending $750,000, they need to generate $50,000,000 in spending in a weekend by people associated with the swim meet just to break even. That seems like a lot, even for “high end spenders.”

      • You are forgetting that the spending of all those people anytime they ever think about Omaha again will also be taxed via Omaha’s brand new “thought tax”.

  6. This makes no sense.
    https://twitter.com/StevenLiberman/status/1130232066996617216

    • If we can’t trust unsourced tweets from Sideline Sports Report, who can we trust?

      • The Summer of Speculation
        https://twitter.com/JSportsnet/status/1131257040498827264

  7. Something tells me the A’s will be playing at the same concrete bowl for the next 50 years.