I’m back from vacation, and thanks for sticking with my slightly unpredictable posting schedule for the last couple of weeks. (As opposed to my usual slightly unpredictable posting schedule.) It was an eye-opening trip to, among other places, a city that built a stadium with public money and now suffers from a legendarily bad public transit system, though it just might be unfair to blame the one on the other.
Anyway, stadium news kept coming at us fast this week, so let’s get to it:
- Tennessee Titans owner Amy Strunk says she doesn’t want a new stadium to replace her 20-year-old one, which normally wouldn’t be a notable thing to say, but we don’t live in normal times. She did, however, say she’d like improvements along the lines of the Miami Dolphins‘ stadium, which got $350 million in renovations a couple of years back, and which she called “a very interesting model and one that we need to keep looking further at to make improvements.” Strunk didn’t say whether she would also follow the Dolphins’ lead in (mostly) funding upgrades out of her own pocket, but hope springs eternal.
- Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is reportedly looking to sell his lease to the Nassau Coliseum, right when its part-time tenant the New York Islanders is about to move out to a new state-subsidized arena that would be closer to the city and compete with it for concerts and other events. If you would like to own a historic, recently renovated venue with no anchor sports tenant in a metro area suddenly facing an arena glut, please inquire within.
- The owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Raptors are spending “multi, multimillion dollars” on renovations to their arena this summer, which at least proves that the Canadian tradition of sports teams paying their own way isn’t totally dead quite yet.
- Orange County, Florida is spending $60 million on renovations to Orlando’s Citrus Bowl (or whatever it’s called these days), which it says will give it a better chance of hosting World Cup games in 2026. The stadium just got a $207 million renovation five years ago, which is starting to seem like a lot to spend on the hopes of maybe hosting six soccer games, but at least there’s no way this can turn out badly, right?
- USA Today ran a pretty bad article yesterday alleging that MLB teams are looking to build smaller stadiums in response to declining attendance. Teams built big multipurpose venues in the 1960s and ’70s, the article says, but “as the 1990s dawned, Major League Baseball’s 26 stadiums were aging and almost always half-empty,” and teams started seeking smaller ones instead — a narrative that cleverly ignores the fact that baseball attendance hit historic lows in the ’60s and historic highs in the ’90s. It only briefly mentions the bigger issue, which is that smaller stadiums breed ticket scarcity and allow for higher prices — a strategy that appears to be going swimmingly.
- MLB is building an 8,000-seat temporary stadium in a cornfield in Iowa so that the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox can re-enact the movie Field of Dreams next summer. Given that that’s the movie that gave sports team owners the line “If you build it, they will come,” which has been used to sucker dozens of cities into putting up stadium cash in hopes of seeing windfalls to their local economy, it’s really the least the league can do to repay the favor.
- The Las Vegas Raiders are naming their stadium after an airline you’ve never heard of, and the Los Angeles Rams are naming the plaza outside their stadium for an airline you’ve definitely heard of, both in exchange for undisclosed sums. Sure is a good thing the U.S. government spent $15 billion with no strings attached to bail out the airline industry, or we might not be seeing these vital investments in our nation’s air travel today.