Friday roundup: Dolphins owner seeks Formula One tax break, Tacoma okays soccer subsidies, plus vaportecture from around the globe!

Happy coronavirus panic week! What with stadiums in Europe being closed to fans and stadium workers in the U.S. testing positive for the virus, it’s tough to think of much right now other than what song to wash your hands to for 20 seconds (this is my personal preference). But long after we’re done with our self-quarantines, the consequences of sports venue spending will live on, so to the week’s news we go:

  • Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is seeking a sales-tax exemption for tickets to Formula One racing events at his stadium, saying that without it, Miami might not get a Grand Prix. The tax break is expected to cost the state between $1.5 million and $2 million per event, but Formula One officials say each race would generate an economic impact of more than $400 million, and what possible reason would they have to lie about a thing like that?
  • The Tacoma city council voted 8-1 on Monday to approve spending on a $60 million, 5,000-seat stadium for the Reign F.C. women’s pro soccer team. According to a letter of intent approved by the council, the city will provide $15 million, while the city parks agency will provide $7.5 million more, with perhaps another $20 million to come from federal tax credits for investing in low-income communities. The parks body still has to vote on the plan on Monday as well; given that Metro Parks commissioner Aaron Pointer — who is also a former Houston Astro and a brother of the Pointer Sisters — said he doesn’t see “really any benefits at all” for the city or its parks, it’s fair to say that the vote there will be more contentious than the one in the city council.
  • Brett Johnson, the developer behind a proposed $400 million development in Pawtucket centered around a pro soccer stadium, says he has lots of investors eager to parks their capital gains in his project tax-free under the Trump administration’s Opportunity Zone program, but it might take a while to work out all the details because reasons. But, he added, “My confidence is very high,” and confidence is what it’s all about, right?
  • Nashville’s Save Our Fairgrounds has filed for a court injunction to stop work on a new Nashville S.C. stadium, on the grounds that no redevelopment of the state fairgrounds can take place without a public voter referendum. This brings the total number of lawsuits against the project to … umpteen? I’m gonna go with umpteen.
  • There’s now an official lawsuit against the Anaheim city council for voting on a Los Angeles Angels stadium land sale without sufficient public meetings. The People’s Homeless Task Force is charging that holding most of the sale talks in private violated the state’s Brown Act on transparency; the city’s lawyers responded that “there could be a myriad of reasons” why the council was able to vote on the sale at a single meeting in December despite never discussing it in public before that, though they didn’t suggest any specific reasons.
  • Wondering what vaportecture looks like outside of North America? Here’s an article on Watford F.C.‘s proposed new stadium, though if you aren’t an Athletic subscriber you’ll be stuck with just the one image, though given that it’s an image of Watford fans stumbling zombie-like into the stadium out of what appears to be an open field, really what more do you need?
  • There are some new renderings of the St. Louis MLS team‘s proposed stadium, and once again they mostly feature people crossing the street, not anything having to do with watching soccer. Are the clip art images of people throwing their hands in the air for no reason temporarily out of stock or something?
  • Here are photos of a 31-year-old arena being demolished, because America.
  • The Minnesota Vikings‘ four-year-old stadium needs $21 million in new paneling on its exterior, because the old paneling was leaking. At least the stadium’s construction contractors will be footing the bill, but it’s still an important reminder that “state of the art” isn’t necessarily better than “outmoded,” especially when it comes to new and unproven designs.
  • And speaking of COVID-19, here’s an article on how travel restrictions thanks to the new coronavirus will cost the European tourism industry more than $1 billion per month, without wondering what else Europeans (and erstwhile travelers to Europe from other continents) will do with the money they’re saving on plane tickets and hotel rooms. Where’s my article on how pandemics are a boost to the hand sanitizer and canned soup industries?
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7 comments on “Friday roundup: Dolphins owner seeks Formula One tax break, Tacoma okays soccer subsidies, plus vaportecture from around the globe!

  1. Maybe also a reference to Melville’s *The Confidence-Man” in the Pawtucket grift story (he had relatives there).

  2. Having lived in St. Louis I can vouch for this image. It is really easy to cross the street. Especially after 5pm.

  3. Watford needs to get a clue. 100 years in the same stadium? They should be moving into their 3rd or 4th new stadium at this point.

    Amazingly, none of the articles state the amazing economic benefits to the people of Watford for building a stadium with private money.

    1. Shocking! Just shocking!

      13 of 20 English Premier League clubs play in stadiums built before 1935, before WW II!

      1. Some of them really show it, though all have been renovated since many people were crushed or burned in UK stadiums in the 1980s.

        safety is a good reason to build a new stadium, but you don’t need a steakhouse or HD TVs every 100 yards to have a safe stadium.

        Bottom line, this is a team investment made on club cost/benefit. Everyone would start laughing if you mentioned the economic benefit of hosting a stadium in your neighborhood.

  4. The latest in Vaportecture.

    Austin FC. Belmont Park. MLS St. Louis (it takes this long to brand. Stars. Steamers. Storm. Ambush. AC St. Louis. St. Louis FC. Shockwave. Just pick one).

    It’s called the “DeMause Effect.” Apparently, Mr. DeMause wrote an article published in Deadspin. Directed at stadium rendering. Scathing, or so I’m told. Never read it. Renders panicked.

    Stadium rendering is now more subtle. Less focus on the stadium or sporting event. More focus on bars, restaurants and stadium access. With people enjoying one another’s company. It’s the “Cheers Appeal.”

    It’s a more softer, kinder, gentler approach. Without all those annoying hard facts and numbers.

  5. I love how a lobbyist for ross is quoted throughout the article about Miami. Because I’m sure he’s totally impartial. Best Line is the last one “We’re not talking about a guy that has not stepped up to the plate,” In referring to his philanthropy (you know donating to the university of Michigan, but we haven’t seen much else in south Florida). And of course he used his own money* to enhance the stadium!

    (The * is because he makes money for every event hosted there and is expected to make back what he invested within 10 years. So it’s maybe more like a loan)

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