Friday roundup: News outlets everywhere get pretty much everything wrong

On a tight deadline this week, so let’s get straight to the news:


21 comments on “Friday roundup: News outlets everywhere get pretty much everything wrong

  1. Re the article about the Nassau County executive’s op-ed, well, Patch is somewhere between a publication and a content farm.

  2. According to the article, the city of Mesa isn’t having to borrow money to pay off the debt. So if paying off the debt avoids paying interest at higher rates the city can get via investing (very likely), it makes financial sense to do so. The same decision households make on investing vs. paying off debt.

    • Municipal debt is super-cheap right now, so it depends on what interest rates were when they took out the loans. But either way, they’re not saving $22m.

    • Warren: the city is at least in part paying off the facilities by selling other assets (farm land). This makes it even harder to calculate what they might be ‘saving’, as we can’t know what the future value of that land (IE: when the debt would have been retired anyway) might be. I don’t know where this land is or what future development might make it worth, so who knows what it might be valued at in ten or twenty years (maybe nothing, maybe tens of millions).

      Essentially, what Mesa has done is sell some land they owned so that they could pay off the mortgage on a couple of rental properties… turning the rental income that was going to pay off the mortgage into net income.

      No owner of rental property (commercial or residential) would make such a decision unless they believed they would be selling the properties in the immediate future. Granted, municipalities operate differently, but even so… I’d call this little more than a bookkeeping decision.

      It also has the potential downside that this or future councils will say “Oh we have this revenue stream from those wonderful stadia why don’t we use that to upgrade or build new ones?”… which if/when it happens will mean the farm land (value unknown) has been sold for essentially no benefit to the city. Alternately, they might just use the revenue to lower property taxes across the board (which at least gives the benefit back to the taxpayers… but still means the farm land sale didn’t really achieve much).

      Municipalities tend to look at income streams very differently than individuals or small businesses do… it burns a hole in their pocket.

      • 1. Mesa owned farm land?
        2. What the heck is a city owning farm land for? Shouldn’t farm land be owned by private sector entrepreneurs who specialize in raising livestock and growing crops…AKA farmers?
        3. There’s farm land in Arizona?

        Bonus. Looks like the T-Bones will have to pull up steaks and move.

  3. Should the white sox leave Chicago? Absolutely not!!! They have a great fan base that has the same problem Tampa has and Las Vegas would have. Low disposable income among residents. The white sox actually serve a good niche. For the millionth time, only Portland and Montreal could support a team. Raleigh is in a grey area because their population does have high disposable income

  4. I am a Yankee fan who has MLB Extra Innings, and will say the Sox do one thing better then the Cubs: Broadcasting. Jason Benetti is superior then Len Kaspar. (For that reason, when the Yankees are not on, I am going to watch a Sox game). That said, lets be honest, the Sox will always be the SECOND team in the Second City to the Cubs (sort of like my Islanders to the Rangers). Will they leave Chicago? Well, it is a situation similar to Baltimore: Reinsdorf (like Angelos) is not getting any younger, and the South Side of Chicago is not the greatest, so it is not out of the realm of possibility.

    • It’s pretty much out of the realm of possibility, at least until such time as MLB starts pooling local TV revenues.

    • Yeah but as in the case of Oakland it makes more sense to be second fiddle in one market than be first fiddle in a market like Charlotte and Las Vegas. Tampa is first fiddle in its market. How’s that working out. Plus 100+ years of brand equity. This is not a serious conversation.

    • David: Apart from the Cub fan leakage to southside caused by the Ricketts family’s commitment to turning Wrigley into Disney Midwest (thanks to Richard for naming this phenomenon some months ago), the Sox broadcast team (Benetti and Steve Stone, who is forever loved by long time Cub fans) is the biggest draw.

      Some years ago I read a survey done by the White Sox that showed that around 15% of their season ticket holders didn’t even really like the Sox. They just hated the Cubs.

      At the time I didn’t understand the logic… but I have to admit, the longer the Ricketts family is in charge the more I begin to understand…

      • John: I know the Ricketts family are not popular with some Cub fans, but I wonder how many of those Cub fans appreciate the end of the “Goat Curse” and no longer being called “Lovable Losers”? As for Steve Stone, I remember when Stone was the “Straight Man” for Harry Caray before he became “Straight Man” for “Hawk ” Harrelson ( because BOTH of those men were “Larger then life” it must have been difficult at times), and I can say he has always been insightful with his commentary.

        • No doubt some are just thrilled to have finally won something, David. From my POV I see two relatively distinct fan groups… what Ricketts might call the “legacy” fans who grew up with teams that on rare occasions reached the dizzying heights of .500 baseball (or nearly .500 baseball…), and the newer and more well heeled converts.

          I would never suggest that there are ONLY two groups, or that there isn’t some degree of mixing between the two… but there has been a significant change in the demographic the club appeals to over the last 40 years. I’m quite sure that the new (ish) owners are happier to have the new bunch than the old ones as they spend more.

          For the latter group, while winning is always welcome, we don’t find things like the CBOE seat auction “Cub like”, nor the exclusive pavillions and lounges etc. I know the $4 bleacher seat isn’t coming back anywhere (except the relatively few places where it has remained available…), but somehow watching baseball while wedged between an investment banker and a subprime car loan billionaire isn’t my idea of a fun afternoon at the old ballpark…

          I guess that’s why minor league or independent ball exists, right?

      • Slightly off-topic, but Neil, could you at some point explain the Neilson ratings formula? There are so many differences between the list of US metropolitan areas from the census department vs the Neilson list, and the latter ratings are tremdously important in the discussion of relocations and expansion. Philadelphia seems too high on their list while Houston seems too low. Raleigh seems too high compared to San Antonio and Austin. Nowhere does it explain how they achieve their numbers. Thanks!

        • I don’t know that Nielsen divulges its methodology, since DMAs are a proprietary metric. Census MSAs aren’t necessarily more accurate, though — what counts as part of a “metro area” is often arbitrary, so that one MSA will include a huge swath of surrounding land whereas another will slice off nearby territory to a separate designation. (And city population, needless to say, is a garbage stat, since some cities like Houston have expanded their city limits like crazy where others like Boston are surrounded by close-in suburbs that are separate cities.)

          Since the Nielsen list is designed to measure media markets, and baseball revenues in particular are so determined by the size of local cable deals, Nielsen DMAs are generally the best approximation for “market size.” But there’s always room for debate.

  5. Can you imagine what would happened if raleigh got an MLB franchise? It’s my understanding that the minor league stadium there was built to expand to major league specifications.

    Would they ask for public funds to do that? Absolutely!

    Would they *also* as for pubic funds to build an entirely new stadium that opened 2 to 4 years after the team moved to the newly expanded stadium? Absolutely!

    An opportunity to get public funding for at *least* a stadium and a half!

    Everyone wins!

    • Actually, The Durham Bulls stadium can not be expanded large enough for a Major League team. It is hemmed in on all sides. The Single-A clubs stadium has the land to build a MLB stadium, but it is too far from the population centers the MLB team would want. Raleigh (or one western Wake County burbs) would be on the hook for a new stadium at this point.

  6. Could Raleigh support an MLB team on top of the NHL team they only kind of support and all the college teams in the area?