Friday roundup: Another Islanders arena delay, Wisconsin to wrap up Brewers stadium spending but not really, Italy wins (?) 2026 Olympics

My endorsement of Hmm Daily last month was so successful that this week the site announced it’s shutting down. I am now officially afraid to tell you people to give money to any other particular site, lest I bestow the kiss of death on them as well, but you should give money to someone you like, because journalism is in bad shape, with dire effects on, among other things, the public’s ability to hold elected officials accountable.

Speaking of which, here’s this week’s news about elected officials doing unaccountable things, and the rich dudes who want to keep it that way:

UPDATE: Just realized I forgot to link to my Deadspin article yesterday on Stuart Sternberg’s Tampontreal Ex-Rays threat, Richard Nixon, Kinder eggs, and bird evolution. And now I have done so, so go read it!


12 comments on “Friday roundup: Another Islanders arena delay, Wisconsin to wrap up Brewers stadium spending but not really, Italy wins (?) 2026 Olympics

  1. Wonder when kraft will threat to take the team to Hartford ? Could takeover UConn football stadium

    • Let him go. The Revs not drawing peanuts in East Hartford is no more foolish than not drawing in Foxboro.

  2. RE: The WI repeal of the 1/2% sales tax

    As a native-born lifelong WI resident who is not a sports fan, I have to say that my objection to the building of Miller Park was never significantly based on the measly .5% sales tax, other than that sales taxes are inherently non-progressive.

    The problem I always had was that I didn’t/don’t believe the old County Stadium needed to be replaced to begin-with! Renovated/upgraded perhaps, but IF some owners/fans wanted a new stadium (and it was always 98% about building luxury suites for the additional ‘revenue stream’) they should’ve paid for it privately. As the subsequent article linked below (ie; the Rays ‘explainer’ by Ian Malinowski) so succinctly puts it: “That’s the rub with asking for public funds, which this sports franchise is likely to do. Funding choices are a matter of opportunity costs, and for at least some of their funding pools, the local government has choices of how best to dispose of them, in order to improve the lives of their constituents.”
    “Would $500 million be better spent on transportation infrastructure like roads or rails? Or on human investment like education? Or on police, firemen, and other emergency personnel? Why would any sports franchise be a more worthwhile investment”

    I hate the fucking ‘bread & circuses’ aspect of this whole episode! Our county park system has laid-off something like 20% of their workforce over the years, here in a SE suburb of Milwaukee we’ve got a number of chronically-crappy roads in really bad shape, etc, etc, and — like most midwestern cities— industry continues to exit to offshore locations leaving low-paying service jobs in its wake (‘thank you’ Ronald Reagan & Bill Clinton) but we HAD to subsidize a new stadium so the owner could make more money on the luxury boxes! This country is squandering too many of its opportunities to implement humanitarian solutions to its many problems.
    Though perhaps not its primary interpretation, the following lyric captures my sense of pessimism about our political situation that is all-too accurately represented by these stadium debacles that NdM informs us on:
    “I tell you this, no ‘eternal reward’ will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.“ from ‘Texas Radio & The Big Beat’ by Jim Morrison

    • The more that massive TV revenues flow into high end professional sports, the more the lie is exposed that teams “need” taxpayer funding for their facilities.

      You can make the argument (though it is not necessarily a strong one) that minor league and amateur sports facilities do require subsidy as there simply is not enough revenue in an MiLB or ECHL business to possibly pay for even a modest stadium.

      When talking about sports leagues with team salary caps between $80-200m, however, the argument for taxpayer subsidy is simply ludicrous. What, an NBA or MLB team can pay a single player (sometimes more than one per team) $30m annually, but can’t float a mortgage on a $450m stadium? Do these thieves really think we are that bad at math?

      I’ve changed my view on PSLs over the years too. When they first were implemented I was outraged… yet another method of fleecing fans for the “privilege” of a place in line to buy tickets (hey, why don’t car dealers or grocery store owners do this too? Why only charge for the new car/bag of carrots when you can sell the theoretical place in line to buy it?).

      Today, though, I see them far differently. If the 8-10k club seat holders for a given franchise want a shiny new place to watch their team play, I think it’s just fine for the team to charge them $10-15k each for a seat license as a one time fee. That raises $100m+ for the stadium fund. Put that along with a front end loaded naming rights deal (say another $200m, with $50-80m up front) and you’ve got a $200m downpayment with which to float a construction mortgage for your $400-600m facility (never mind the fact that if they were spending their own money, sports facilities would suddenly be about 50% cheaper to build than they are when someone else is footing the bill).

      $20-25m in annual debt service for the life of the stadium isn’t that much to manage, particularly when you consider how many NBA or MLB players who haven’t played for 3-5 years are still being paid that kind of money not to play any more…

      Professional sports franchises in ALL the major sports leagues absolutely can afford to build their own facilities.

      Welfare for billionaires needs to end NOW.

      • “Professional sports franchises in ALL the major sports leagues absolutely can afford to build their own facilities.
        Welfare for billionaires needs to end NOW!”

        Amen to that! There are people and organizations in our society (and others) who need/deserve welfare/charity. We may debate who or which ones, but billionaires shouldn’t be on anyone’s list…

  3. Raleigh and Charlotte are both anxious to get MLS? Somebody had better tell all the people who live in Raleigh that.

    We want Major League BASEBALL. Not soccer. If Charlotte wants MLS? By all means, let them have it. But when it’s time for Major League Baseball? We’re the market for that.

  4. “The more that massive TV revenues flow into high end professional sports, the more the lie is exposed that teams “need” taxpayer funding for their facilities.”

    True, but the need still wouldn’t be there without the big TV revenue. Stadiums were built by teams long before the days of $billion TV contracts.

    Related to Eddie’s comments about how Milwaukee’s old stadium didn’t really need replacing: Those of us who hate these public subsidies don’t help our case when we buy into the idea that the Rays “need” to move or that the TropDome isn’t acceptable for use by an MLB team or the A’s “need” a new stadium or that new stadiums “need” to cost more than $500M – something I see here pretty frequently. It just ain’t so. The only reason these things “need” to happen is to (theoretically) increase the profitability of already profitable businesses. And there’s no reason the public should be concerned about that “need”, at all.

  5. Too bad Robert Kraft did not jump on the Suffolk Downs property, they just had their last horse racing session on Sunday.
    It is about 107 acres of land with a Blue Line stop next to it.
    The new stadium would have used at the most 20 acres of land and with the rest devoted to development it could have paid for itself.

    • Sort of like the Wonderland proposal. I never could understand why Kraft turned up his nose at that, unless it was the distance. (Yeah, right. Foxboro is sO mUCh MorE accessible)

  6. Three mayors. One owner. No deal. St. Pete’s futile history with the Rays.

    https://www.tampabay.com/st-petersburg/three-mayors-one-owner-no-deal-st-petes-futile-history-with-the-rays-20190629/