Friday roundup: Red Wings owner touts his “passion” amid sea of parking lots, cities are terrible stadium negotiators, newspapers are terrible newspapers

The cryptocurrency-based journalism startup Civil couldn’t have gone much worse, but it did spawn a couple of successes, none more welcome than Hmm Daily, the news commentary site from former Gawker and Deadspin editor Tom Scocca. Or as I will always think of him, the co-founder of Funny Paper, the now virtually unfindable-on-the-internet weekly(ish) political analysis of daily comic strips that was the greatest such enterprise until the great Josh Fruhlinger elevated it to an even higher art form. I’ve been enjoying Scocca’s excellent columns on the militarization of language and how big a giant bee is for months now, but I didn’t feel compelled to bite the bullet and kick in any money until I spotted this photo caption in an article by Scocca’s Funny Paper co-conspirator Joe MacLeod: “I have no beef with the M&M’s homunculus infesting the menu.” If you know me at all from reading this website, you know that I immediately pulled out my wallet and became a paying Hmm Daily subscriber (at the $5 a month level, though the reward at the $50,000 level is truly amazing).

Anyways, on to the sports stadium and arena newses:

  • The District Detroit development around the new Red Wings arena still consists mostly of some state-subsidized parking lots, but Red Wings exec Christopher Ilitch says that’s okay because “Our timelines may change. Our passion, the energy, the way we feel about this community has not.” And truly, who can put a price on feels?
  • The Voice of OC cites “experts” as saying that Anaheim may not be driving a hard enough bargain with Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno on a price for stadium parking lot development rights, and oh hey look, it’s me. Also Holy Cross economist Victor Matheson, who says, “Cities tend to be remarkably bad negotiators when it comes to professional sports,” which, yup.
  • Politifact Wisconsin did a fact-check on claims that the state of Wisconsin will get a “tremendous” payback on its Milwaukee Bucks arena subsidies and found that that’s only if you assume the Bucks would have moved without them, and assume that Bucks fans would have all stopped spending their money in Wisconsin without them, and assume that NBA salaries will quintuple by the 2040s, and further found that Villanova sports stadium researcher Rick Eckstein calls the revenue estimates “fantasy figures,” and concluded that this makes the claim Mostly True. It is just slightly possible that having staff members of the local newspaper that has a record of overarching credulity on the arena deal do fact-checking on it might not be the best idea.
  • The people trying to get an MLB franchise in Portland are running out of momentum as MLB waits for the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A’s to work out their stadium situations before considering expansion, but at least they got a meeting with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred — no wait, the news report has corrected itself, they didn’t even get that. Well, at least they have weirdly non-Euclidean renderings.
  • Speaking of MLB expansion hopefuls, Montreal’s would-be neo-Expos owner Stephen Bronfman has a deal in place on land for a new stadium … not on buying the land, mind you, but with a developer to help develop the non-stadium part of the land once they buy it. This could be a while.
  • And speaking of the Rays and of terrible newspapers, the Tampa Bay Times’ John Romano wants to know when St. Petersburg and Tampa officials will stop bickering and get to work on throwing money at Rays owner Stuart Sternberg already?
  • The New York Times is a significantly less terrible newspaper, but a profile on A’s president Dave Kaval with the headline “Can This Man Keep the A’s in Oakland?” is not only pretty sycophantic in its own right, but it assumes a lot about the team owners moving without a new stadium when they’ve already gone a couple of decades demanding a new stadium and not getting one and still not moving.
  • Henderson, Nevada, is giving $10 million to the owners of the Vegas Golden Knights to build a practice rink, which is dumb but less dumb than some other cities’ expenses on similar projects.
  • The Arizona Coyotes are getting a new majority owner and the Phoenix Suns are up for sale, according to Sportsnet’s John Shannon, who added, “as one NHL official told me yesterday, when I asked that very question, I said, ‘Does this new owner mean that there’s an arena closer to fruition?’ And the answer was, if you get a new owner, there’s a better chance of a new arena. So you can put two and two together, Steve.” Then the Suns owners and a report in The Athletic on the Coyotes completely refuted what Shannon said, so maybe you’re better off putting two and two together without his help.
  • I was about to write up this news story about a potential rezoning approval for Austin F.C.‘s new stadium, but then I saw that KXAN managed to write “Austin’s Planing Commission” and “this ammendment” in the first three paragraphs, and now I gotta go cry all day about the death of copy editing, sorry.
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14 comments on “Friday roundup: Red Wings owner touts his “passion” amid sea of parking lots, cities are terrible stadium negotiators, newspapers are terrible newspapers

  1. Why is anybody giving the Golden Knights money for a practice rink when they could just use the Orleans Arena again?

    1. Because this is in Henderson! Imagine all the money the players will spend locally on, uh … stick wax? Is that a hockey thing?

      1. Haha yes stick wax is a thing. I think the article that’s being quoted is misinformed. The Golden Knights will continue to practice at their under 3 year old rink in Summerlin. I think the rink in Henderson is going to be a public rink managed by the Golden Knights the same way they manage the rink in Summerlin for non team practice events.

  2. Austin Planing Commission will be helping with custom mill work in the new stadium.

    1. Yeah. I mean we don’t KNOW that Austin isn’t the first major centre with a planing commission. Somebody has to be.

  3. Well, let’s hope that Shannon’s “new owners” will be both capable of and happy to lose $15-40M annually (depending on whether you count the portion of the club’s operating losses presently covered by guaranteed revenue sharing payments, which the Coyotes get regardless whether the team meets the qualification requirements the league places on all other teams…) forever.

    It’s just such a shame that all the past owners (seven principal owners by my count) of this franchise weren’t real team players willing to write checks to cover those losses personally each and every year.

    This team has been in the desert for almost 25 years, has a free arena (which they are paid to manage by the taxpayers who built it for them) and still loses about $1m/game on an operating basis. The notion that “a new arena” is what is holding them back is laughable… their current one (opened in 2003) is still as good, if not better, than most other venues in the league.

    Losing that kind of money takes some doing, folks….

    1. The team no longer manages the arena, but your point stands. We hear that a new arena will put the team “closer to its fan base.” Ha ha, the problem is that the team has no fan base. They would move to Yuma for a big enough subsidy.

  4. RE: “…death of copy editing”
    WTF, aren’t reporters/writers REQUIRED to use a spell-check editor? I mean I could see ‘planing’ slipping through a simple spell-check (although nowadays you see ads for ‘rhetoric editors’ that would presumably catch even that kind of error), but “ammendment”?

    1. PS – Not being much of a sport’s fan out here in ‘Cheddar-head land’ (Milwaukee, WI), I just noticed that the Bucks dropped 4 games in a row to the Raptors to lose the semifinals, in spite of their much ballyhooed new ’Fiserv Forum’. Since the last time the Bucks won the NBA championship was back in ‘71 when they played in the old Milwaukee Arena built in 1950, the logically inescapable conclusion is that Milwaukee needs to tear-down the new Fiserv Forum and go back to playing in the still-used Milwaukee Arena. Problem solved.

      1. oh, snap!

        Or maybe it means that their new arena isn’t good enough and needs to be replaced… you can just never tell…

    1. Baseball in Portland is happening right now! MLB baseball on the other hand…

    2. As someone with lots of friends in Portland (both Portlands, actually, but speaking of the Oregon one), I’d be thrilled to see the city get a team so that I’d have another excuse to visit. I’m not holding my breath, though.

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