Friday roundup: Phoenix to maybe get soccer stadium/robot factory, Raiders roof is delayed, Def Leppard and Hamilton face off over who’s old and smelly

Happy Friday! I have no meta-commentary to add this week, but hopefully when you have Def Leppard getting into a flamewar with Canadian elected officials over arena smells, you need no prelude:

  • The Salt River Pima-Maricopa reservation, long rumored as the possible site of a Phoenix Rising F.C. soccer stadium, has released an image of a proposed “$4 billion sports, technology and entertainment district” that indeed seems to show a soccer stadium, though honestly it looks a little small just from the rendering. There’s also an amazing image of people testing out robots and what looks like robot dogs, which surely will be the growth industry of the rest of the century, because I bet robot dogs don’t have an enormous carbon footprint or anything.
  • The Las Vegas Raiders are now projecting $478 million in personal seat license sales for their new stadium, up from an initial projection of $250 million. (All this money will go to defray Raiders owner Mark Davis’s costs, not the state of Nevada’s, because why would revenues from a publicly funded stadium go to the public? That’s crazy talk!) Unfortunately, the stadium might not be ready on time thanks to its roof behind months behind schedule, which could cause damage to the already-built parts of the stadium if it rains, but all those Raiders fans in Vegas (or people in Vegas anticipating selling their seats to out-of-towners who’ve come to see their home teams on road trips) will surely be patient after shelling out as much as $75,000 for PSLs.
  • Charlotte is still up for giving Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper $110 million to renovate his NFL stadium to make it more amenable to hosting an MLS franchise, but may want Tepper to agree to a lease extension first. Given that the last time Charlotte gave the Panthers money for stadium upgrades it was $87.5 million for a six-year extension, the city could maybe keep the team in town through 2027 this way. At this point, it might have been cheaper for the city just to buy the Panthers outright, thus guaranteeing the team stays in town while not only avoiding all these continual renovation fees but also getting to collect all that NFL revenue for itself. (Ha ha ha, just kidding, the NFL outlawed that years ago, no doubt partly to avoid anyone from trying exactly this scenario.)
  • The Atlanta Braves‘ stadium got a new name thanks to a bank merger, and the bank got lots of free publicity when news outlets wrote about the new name, but hell if I’m going to participate in that, so google it if you really must know.
  • A Virginia state delegate wants to reboot Virginia Beach’s failed arena plans by setting up a state-run authority to attempt to build a new arena somewhere in the Hampton Roads region, which includes both Virginia Beach and Norfolk. “The hardest part is the financing mechanism behind it,” said Norfolk interim economic development director Jared Chalk, which, yeah, no kidding.
  • Denver is helping build a new rodeo arena, and as a Denverite subhead notes, “The city says it won’t reveal how much taxpayers could be on the hook for because that would be bad for taxpayers.”
  • Kalamazoo is maybe building a $110 million arena to host concerts and something called “rocket football,” which I’m not even going to google because it would almost certainly be a disappointment compared to what I’m imagining.
  • Anaheim is considering rebating $180 million (maybe, I’m going by what one councilmember said) in future tax revenues to hotel developers so that Los Angeles Angels and Anaheim Ducks players will stay in them? Don’t the Angels and Ducks players own houses locally? What is even happening?
  • And finally, what you’ve all been waiting for: A video from last summer has surfaced showing Def Leppard lead singer Joe Elliott complaining that Hamilton, Ontario’s arena is “old” and “stinks like a 10,000 asses stink,” to which Hamilton councillor Jason Farr replied that Def Leppard is “also old and stinks.” Clearly one of them needs to be torn down and entirely replaced! It worked for Foreigner!
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17 comments on “Friday roundup: Phoenix to maybe get soccer stadium/robot factory, Raiders roof is delayed, Def Leppard and Hamilton face off over who’s old and smelly

  1. Maybe the Las Vegas Raiders will become the AirBnB of football. Come to town, rent an apartment for the weekend, rent a ticket for the weekend, everyone gets rich.

    1. I’d say the New Orleans Superdome / Arena complex would be an excellent comparison. A huge taxpayer funded asset in private hands where money is siphoned while the entirety of the metro region is crime ridden and poverty stricken.

  2. Rocket football is apparently just some sort of youth football. I say they don’t get a penny until actual rockets are involved.

  3. Maybe the Las Vegas team can just have no home games like the Atlantic League’s “Road Warriors” and play every game on the road.

      1. Holy cow! I’m not the only person who’s read that book? I read The Great American Novel so many times as a kid that I gave a book report on it without notes in my American Lit class as a college freshman. Think I saw Gil Gamesh driving a jeepney here in the Philippines last week.

        Glad you’re not playing the naming rights game regarding the Braves’ ballpark, BTW. When I was giving hourly sports updates as a radio news anchor, I consciously avoided using corporate stadium or arena names, instead saying “at home” or “in Seattle.” No banks or insurance companies were paying ME for naming rights. Even thought about selling naming rights on a per-update basis for $10 or $20 to listeners, then donating proceeds to our local Little League Baseball or youth football associations, but never pursued it.

        1. Oh, man, that selling naming rights to listeners thing totally has to happen. WFMU sells naming rights to its office equipment and decorations, but your idea is a step above:

          https://www.flickr.com/photos/wfmu/albums/72157603873576097/

  4. Aw, snap! Jason Farr took the obvious joke I was hoping to make…

    Just one follow up question though: Were Def Leppard the only ones in the arena (soundcheck etc) when it smelled so bad?

    Not to be unkind or anything, but did it also smell bad on their tour bus?

  5. I think you misread the “rocket football” thing. That’s from a state senator who wants some of the money being raised from the tax to go to “urban recreation” which appears to be code for youth sports. Rocket football isn’t played in the arena, it’s regular football for kids younger than middle school, this is just a mechanism to fund it.

    1. Rep. Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo, says he got the rocket football funding added in an amendment, according to the article. So there will be rocket football played there, dadgumit!

      1. “Changes, he said, would require a portion of the event center funding to be set aside every year for urban recreation, which include rocket football and ice time for young hockey players.” The key being “funding to be set aside.”

  6. On the other hand, a developer in Chicago has cooked up the mother of all Rube Goldberg public financing schemes for a Soldier Field stadium complex. Hard to tell what the end result will be. The city has absolutely no desire for a new stadium development, and the new administration was quite upset when Springfield agreed to a deal without informing them, and they’ve put a brick on the plan at this point. But the city has also wanted a new transit line and CTA/Metra connections for decades.

    https://chicago.suntimes.com/crossroads/2020/1/17/21066983/one-central-soldier-field-south-loop-transit-landmark-development-cta-metra-zotti-city-crossroads

    1. This doesn’t seem to have anything to do with stadiums or Soldier Field except that it’s across the street from it. Everything I could find suggests it’s a mega real estate project but nothing connected to sports (it might make easier access to Soldier Field for some, but that’s not really the main point of it).

      1. I think it illustrates the driving force behind a lot of the recent public financing of stadiums, especially the downtown proposals. Which is the belief, not so much that the stadium itself will create wealth for the public, but that the entertainment district and real estate surrounding the stadium will generate wealth instead. And they probably will generate wealth for connected politicians, developers, and team owners as long as the general public assumes the risk and responsibility for the stadium and supporting infrastructure, regardless if it’s actually needed or not.

        Take a look at the transit hub renderings for One Central and the emphasis on Soldier Field and the Bears vs the actual transit. A transit hub that is universally acknowledged to be functionally worthless if ever constructed. This proposal does not exist because there’s natural demand for real estate at this spot. It’s leveraging the public’s attachment for their football team into to transfer public funds into a private development.

        https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/WqEBRb6YW3FRydQahwRFYscicqA=/0x0:7869×3600/620×413/filters:focal(3430×931:4688×2189):format(webp)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/63722657/ONE_Central_Rendering___Atrium.0.jpg

        1. The South Loop, where this would be, is being extensively developed. This may not be the right proposal, but suggesting there’s no demand for real estate near there isn’t accurate. There have been a lot of buildings built in that area in the last 15 years and still more being planned.

          Being near Soldier Field might be considered a plus, but none of this is being built because of it. One Central would be the closest buildings on the south side to Lake Michigan, which is a much bigger draw than Soldier Field (they can’t build east of Soldier Field because that’s dedicated park land).

          1. By natural demand, I’m referring to the cost of capping over the railroad tracks and recouping that investment. The demand for lakeside real estate in the South Loop doesn’t even come close to covering the costs when there are dozens of other sites nearby that are readily available.

            As for not being built because of Soldier Field, I suggest it’s the opposite. The lead developer of the project, Bob Dunn, specifically specializes in stadium development, and his current proposal has only gotten this far because of ideas of a stadium entertainment district.

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