Friday roundup: Two state legislators call for halt to Angels stadium sale, St. Louis MLS team mum on state tax credit repeal, Tampa mayor still eager to play footsie with Rays

It’s D-Day for the Los Angeles Angels stadium sale plan, with the Anaheim city council set to hold its potentially one and only hearing on the matter today starting at 2 pm Pacific time. I’ll meet you back here then with this window open, but until then there’s lots of news:

  • California state assemblymember Tom Daly and state senator Tom Umberg have written an open letter to Anaheim calling for the vote to be postponed, noting, “Without knowing the final terms and conditions of the eventual sale, including the role the City will play in shaping the development of the land, how can the taxpayers of Anaheim know if the proposed sale achieves the maximum financial value for the City?” and laying out a bunch of as-yet-unanswered questions about the deal, including how the sale price was arrived at, how any deductions for building “community benefits” will be calculated, and how any decision can be reached when key details of the proposed development on the site won’t be finalized for months yet? Daly, you’ll recall, is a former Anaheim mayor who joined with another former Anaheim mayor, Tom Tait, to write an op-ed this week opposing the deal, which raises some important issues, like what’s with all these California politicians named Tom? And which is the best nickname now for the opposition, Band of Toms or Tom Tom Club? Just what we needed, more unanswered questions!
  • The owners of St. Louis’s expansion MLS franchise aren’t commenting on Gov. Mike Parson’s decision to withhold $30 million of requested state tax credits for the team’s stadium project, though they are going ahead with requesting highway ramp closures in February so that construction can begin. Does this mean they’re giving up on the $30 million tax subsidy, meaning it was never necessary to begin with to get the stadium project done? Or that they’re planning to work behind the scenes to get their money from somewhere, and see no point in making a public stink about it? Or maybe they’re just content to sit back and let local sports columnists call the governor “a teammate you can’t count on” and hope that shames him into changing his mind.
  • Tampa Mayor Jane Castor says when she first heard about the idea of the Tampa Bay Rays building new stadiums in both Montreal and Florida and splitting the season between them, she thought “that makes no sense” but now feels “let them explore it. It’s something new.” This is both not a ringing endorsement of the plan while also clearly an attempt to tell Rays owner Stuart Sternberg that she’s open to discussing a new stadium on whatever terms he likes, which coming from someone who showed up at a Rays playoff game in October wearing a team jersey and saying she both wants to help build Sternberg a stadium and also not spend any city money on a new stadium is right on brand in terms of trying to be all things to all people.
  • A Florida state legislator’s bill earlier this year to repeal the state’s sales-tax fund for sports stadium funding didn’t get anywhere, so now a different state legislator has submitted his own version. This is likely going nowhere fast, but given that no sports team has yet managed to tap the fund and none have even applied for money the last two years, this may be an answer to the age-old question of what happens when an movable object meets a stoppable force.
  • Oh yeah, I wrote an essay for Slate about MLB’s minor-league contraction proposal, concluding that while major-league owners may not quite have their brinkmanship ducks in a row — despite commissioner Rob Manfred’s hissy-fit declaration last week that maybe he’ll just stop affiliating with the minors altogether if they’re going to be that way — they do know that they’re going to use their cartel power (and antitrust exemption) for all it’s worth, just like when they colluded in the 1980s to not bid on each other’s free agents and … okay, that didn’t work out so well, but this time it’ll go great, you’ll see!
  • Charlotte is getting an MLS team and Raleigh isn’t, and the Raleigh News-Observer is upset, apparently because they don’t realize that eventually everyone will get their own MLS team.
  • And speaking of Charlotte, Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper may be in line to get $110 million worth of public money to revamp his current football stadium for soccer, but that doesn’t mean he’s giving up on his ultimate goal of “an improved” version of Tottenham Stadium with its retractable field to switch between American football and soccer. Something tells me he’s not planning to agree to a lease extension in exchange for that $110 million, or that being his final ask for public money.
  • NYC F.C. still hasn’t made any announcement about that Bronx stadium that the New York Times reported was in the works a year and a half ago, but they did announce that next year they’ll play four home games at a different baseball stadium than the one they’ve been calling home.
  • The Texas Rangers have released new renderings of proposed office buildings actually within their old stadium, raising a couple of important questions: Could the XFL’s Dallas Renegades still play there, if there’s still an XFL by then? And also, if that’s the new Rangers stadium depicted in the background, why isn’t it on fire?

6 comments on “Friday roundup: Two state legislators call for halt to Angels stadium sale, St. Louis MLS team mum on state tax credit repeal, Tampa mayor still eager to play footsie with Rays

  1. I feel like they’re gonna keep teasing Raleigh and eventually award a franchise to some northeast hedge fund guy who went to Duke and puts it in Durham instead.

  2. Asking taxpayers to pony up 400 million for a team because a billionaire owner needs 3 cable contracts is the most immoral thing ever

  3. Neil, there may be a newspaper columnist who reads this site?! https://www.indystar.com/story/opinion/columnists/james-briggs/2019/12/18/indy-eleven-stadium-looks-unrealistic-mls-expands-charlotte/2686848001/

  4. Didn’t the Man City Football Yankees play a game or two at Citi last year? I know the MLS fan experience at Yankee Stadium mk iii is pretty awful. Was Citi an improvement in that respect?

  5. … and I think it is a tremendous example of vertical integration that the former HOK now runs it’s own stadium news website. I bet they’ll be completely impartial on funding and citizen vote issues.