Friday roundup: Cincy official wants soccer subsidies back, Hartford mayor wants arena spending now, and why billionaires are jealous of other billionaires

Just how far have we fallen in the last few weeks? Far enough that I wrote an article on how New York City is managing to feed at least a few of its millions of suddenly hungry people, and I considered this a positive article. I promise we’ll get back to more analysis of how rich sports people are attempting to steal a few billions in taxpayer money in short order, but right now it’s a little hard to focus on run-of-the-mill horrors when there are so many new ones every day.

But there was some news this week, not all of it pandemic-related! Enjoy, if enjoying is still a thing we do:

  • Cincinnati city councilmember Chris Seelbach says that in light of crashing city budgets in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, he plans to introduce a bill asking F.C. Cincinnati to return 25% of its $33 million public stadium subsidy, the same percentage that city social service agencies are being asked to cut. The bad news: City officials say it would be up to the team to voluntarily accept the funding reduction, so maybe don’t hold your breath on that.
  • Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin says it’s a great time for a $100 million renovation of his city’s XL Center since the arena is just sitting there right now doing nothing but losing money, so it’s a great time for construction! Connecticut is currently facing a projected $1.9 billion loss of tax revenues from the pandemic, in case you were wondering.
  • The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and Los Angeles Dodgers would each lose more than $300 million in revenues if no fans were allowed to attend games in 2020, according to Forbes’ Mike Ozanian, while other teams like the Miami Marlins would lose only $47 million, since nobody goes to Marlins games anyway. But Ozanian notes tha teams would also cut back on their revenue sharing expenses, and while he doesn’t do the math on this, we can: With revenue sharing running at about 48% of local revenues (actually slightly less since even the Yankees get back a small share of the overall cut), this means those teams’ bottom-line losses will only be about half what Forbes is reporting. In other words, coronavirus will likely be only slightly more of a disaster for the Yankees than signing Jacoby Ellsbury.
  • Delaying the Tokyo Olympics for a year is expected to cost organizers $2.8 billion for things like additional rental costs on private venues and the athletes’ village — which already has private buyers who were expecting to move in in September — and the International Olympic Committee isn’t exactly saying whether it will cover these costs or the Tokyo organizing committee will be stuck with them, though you can certainly guess, based on past IOC behavior. And that’s assuming that the 2020 Olympics can take place in 2021, which is still not a sure thing.
  • And speaking of coronavirus shutdowns possibly lasting into 2021, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has told city agencies that “large gatherings such as concerts and sporting events may not be approved in the city for at least 1 year.” That doesn’t rule out TV-only sports with no fans, and also it’s important to remember that memos like these are just contingency plans, and no one knows what things will look like this fall (or, for that matter, in fall of 2021). Maybe hold off on buying your 2020 NFL season tickets, though, just to be on the safe side.
  • Amazon is reportedly considering bidding for naming rights to Tottenham Hotspur‘s new stadium, which given that naming rights are mostly good for boosting brand recognition and Amazon is already the world’s biggest brand is kind of weird. Though given that the company is now making $11,000 in sales per second what with everyone trapped in their homes, maybe they can afford to blow some money on something stupid.
  • And speaking of Amazon, Bloomberg reports that Jeff Bezos only asked for billions of dollars in subsidies for a new second headquarters because he was jealous of Elon Musk getting billions of dollars from Nevada for a new Tesla plant. Which we pretty much knew was Bezos’s inspiration, but it’s still a worthwhile reminder that corporate barons are just as much driven by envy of the next corporate baron down the block as they are by any rational economic motivations.
  • Here are some photos of the early years of the original Yankee Stadium, which are being reported as a sign of the team’s impact on its surrounding Bronx neighborhood, which is probably wrong since it’s more likely the impact of the new elevated subway line that opened in 1918 (and helped inspired the Yankees to move to the Bronx). Though they do give a sense of how teams used to build stadiums in phases — expand by a few thousand seats, then once those sell out use the proceeds to add a few thousands more — to make them more affordable with private cash, something you usually only see now in European soccer stadiums, which is surely just coincidental to the fact that European soccer stadiums mostly don’t get huge public subsidies.
  • And speaking of European soccer stadiums, here are some photos from what is described as an “insane new video” of Real Madrid‘s proposed $625 million stadium renovation, which leads me to believe that SportsBible, whatever that is, has never seen a truly insane video.  I do like the news, though, that “the capacity of the iconic venue will be reduced by one to 80,242,” which leads me to believe that at least the stadium architects have a sense of humor.
  • Since we haven’t featured any dumb sports news articles yet this week, how about this one from the New York Post that claims the New York Islanders moving to Brooklyn worked out well because it kept the team from moving to Quebec? Asked and answered, people!
  • Superstar Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout has declared MLB’s Arizona biodome proposal to be “pretty crazy” since it would keep players away from their families for months, but the Arizona Republic’s editorial page editor says there are “scientific reasons” for doing it like “MLB players are already guinea pigs” and “there is always risk in life” and anyway baseballllllllllllll! More science to drop soon on this, I sorely hope.

12 comments on “Friday roundup: Cincy official wants soccer subsidies back, Hartford mayor wants arena spending now, and why billionaires are jealous of other billionaires

  1. Loved the Yankee Stadium photo chronological juxtaposition.

    Personally I think here in Houston our Minute Maid Stadium train engine with a coal car full of oranges on the upper ledge/edge of the ballpark has done more to develop East Downtown (aka EaDo) than the ballpark.

    Lots of oranges moving into the neighborhood. Nobody around here gonna get scurvy now.

    • I was watching the Mets broadcasters call an MLB The Show videogame from Minute Maid Park (as one does these days), and was amused to hear Keith Hernandez spot the giant oranges and declare, “It’s the pumpkins!”

      • Hmmmn. The concept of a virtual Harold Reynolds calling a virtual game does not fill me with hope. I’m just not sure if it is less hope or more than the real one…

        • This was the real Keith Hernandez, but virtual players. I think it worked pretty well, considering:

  2. For the mlb season just do a tournament in Sept in Florida with no fans. Make the expos and Portland the 31 and 32 team. Minor leaguers should make up those teams. Have umps work remotely

    • A tournament where teams are eliminated immediately wouldn’t go over well. You could do a World Cup style tournament: 12 games of intradivisional play in the group stage, top two teams in each division plus four wild cards make the round of 16, then five-game series for that, quarterfinals, and semifinals, and a seven-game World Series. You could get that done in 6-7 weeks, which is probably a small enough window that we won’t have to go back into lockdown before it ends.

      • I was thinking 3 or 5 games series. Fans will love it because of the novelty. Especially if you have a one and done temporary team.

        • Yeah, baseball fans love novelty and anything that tampers with “tradition”, which is why they defend an overly long season no one cares about to maintain legitimacy of records set by cheaters.

          • “…an overly long season no one cares about…”

            Well, except for the hundreds of thousands who watch games every day during that overly long season.

    • So you’re saying expand the number of MLB teams playing in empty stadiums in Florida from 2 to 32?

  3. Deep Freeze

    The basic rule of a limerick is brevity.
    And it also needs a large dose of levity.
    But prolonged lock downs on Earth
    Have extinguished much mirth.
    The theme today, f*** the spell chek, “Inactevity”.

  4. It’s not about the sport.
    It’s not about the fans.
    It’s not about the novelty.
    It’s about the money.

    Mostly the TV money, but if there’s a way that any sports league can obtain a federal liability waiver (you know, like the makers of tamiflu did years ago for their largely untested vaccine… of course in many cases they were obtaining this waiver from government officials who were major shareholders in their corporation, which might have made it easier…) for any fan or employee related illness or death, you know they will do it.