Friday roundup: NFL teams debate which fans will be the first to enjoy socially distanced peeing

Pressed for time today, so while I’d love to comment on everything in the world that happened this crazy week, I’m just going to give you a link to my article on news coverage of the California fires and the state’s reliance on incarcerated people to fight them, then get straight to a quickie news recap:

  • The Cleveland Browns will reportedly “consider personal seat licenses” in determining who gets to attend reduced-capacity games this season, which isn’t very specific: Would season ticket holders with PSLs (which is almost all of them) get priority? Would those who spent more get let in first? One can only imagine the Browns front office debating which is the fairest solution, and/or which would help maximize team revenues, because you know that the latter is never very far from sports owners’ conception of the former.
  • If you’ve been jonesing for a picture of what socially distanced urinals will look like, Sports Illustrated has you covered.
  • Pittsburgh’s Sports & Exhibition Authority is, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “requesting $7.4 million to COVID-19-proof Heinz Field, PNC Park, PPG Paints Arena and the David L. Lawrence Convention Center,” whatever “COVID-19-proof” means. (Lots of urinal covers?)
  • There are new reports estimating the costs to the local economy of spring training in Arizona ending early and the Oklahoma City Thunder season ending early and do you think either of them looked at what, say, sales-tax receipts actually did starting in March, or did they just project out how much money is normally spent at these events and assume that it all vanished into thin air once they were canceled? (If you guessed door #2, congratulations, you can skip journalism school and go directly to a newspaper job, if newspapers or jobs still existed.)
  • No huge new revelations in this week’s Epoch Times report on the Los Angeles Angels stadium deal, but it’s a decent roundup and there sure is a ton of me in it, so check it out if you like. (EDIT: Or actually maybe don’t, if you don’t want to support QAnon and anti-vaxxer conspiracy theories. If you want to know what I said, I’ll post it in comments.)
  • This German study of how people’s breath spreads at an indoor concert is kind of genius, and everyone should be watching to see the results if we ever want to be able to attend indoor events again, whether masked or distanced or ventilated with HEPA filters or what. Results are due in four to six weeks, so stay tuned in early October for further updates.
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8 comments on “Friday roundup: NFL teams debate which fans will be the first to enjoy socially distanced peeing

  1. Some good Neil quotes in an appropriately-skeptical article re: Anaheim Angels. Much better than the cheerleader journalism that local outlets seem to specialize in. And a city councilman who understands the time value of money!

  2. I’m so jaded I read that bit about the Browns and thought the team was going to sell a new round PSLs for the right to attend 2020 games.

    1. Well, Covid at sports facilities is technically a new feature that was not contemplated when they sold the original PSLs… so I see no reason why they should just give this experience away to people who haven’t paid for it.

    1. I didn’t know about their QAnon connections when I talked to them for this article. Probably won’t do so again, because yeesh.

    2. And anti-vaxxers, too? Okay, you know what, I’m taking the link down — if people want to read that stuff, it’s their problem, but I don’t need to help out their Pagerank.

      Here are my quotes from the article, if anyone wants to see them:

      “The Angel Stadium situation is kind of a next-generation model,” deMause said.

      “It’s more and more common to see these everything-but-the-kitchen sink deals, where it’s not just the stadium … it’s housing development, and it’s a mall, and it’s a whole bunch of other things,” deMause said.

      But it’s difficult to analyze what the deal is worth “because, by the time you try to figure out who’s being paid what, for what, it’s all an enormous gray area,” he said.

      “In the vast majority of stadium and arena deals, the cost of the new building or the renovation is greater than the benefit that you get. So you’ve got to figure out a way to bring in enough money that it’s going to pay for itself, and there are very few deals where that’s true.”

      DeMause, the stadium deal expert, said community benefits agreements can be problematic.

      “They’ve become very popular in the last 10 to 15 years because it’s a way for the city and for community leaders to say [they] got something out of this deal,” deMause said.

      “Oftentimes they wind up being very cheap ways for the team owner to throw a few million dollars at switching some of [the] housing from market rate to affordable … and that might be chump change compared to what they’re getting in terms of the public benefits.”

      DeMause said it is difficult to calculate precisely the value associated with public benefits.

      “Who’s to say what the value of land is? Who’s to say what the actual value of affordable housing is, right?” he asked.

      “Is it how much you actually spent on the affordable housing? Is it how much of a subsidy it would have normally taken you to build affordable housing as opposed to market-rate housing?”

      Based on the current details of the proposal, deMause said, “The Angels’ deal is absolutely not the worst deal. There are plenty of examples of cities that got taken … for way, way more money.

      “It’s somewhere in that broad middle: it could have been worse, but it could have been so much better.

      “Every unhappy stadium deal is unhappy in its own way.”

      1. Thanks.

        While I was surprised to see that particular publication linked, given it’s ethos etc, the fact that they are ‘who they are’ does not mean they can’t occasionally publish something that is well reasoned and true.

        The fact that they rarely do this is disappointing, but in no way means everything they publish should be disbelieved. The problem in today’s world is sorting the (very few kernels of) wheat from the (overwhelming majority of) chaff.

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