I’m very busy this morning, busy enough that one entire news item will have to wait till Monday when I can give it its due, but that means an extra post on Monday, so what are you complaining about, really? Anyway, there’s still plenty of stadium and arena news from this week, let’s have at it:
- The Oakland A’s released some new Howard Terminal stadium renderings as part of their environmental impact statement, and the big news is that the design looks to be subtly asymmetrical now, I guess so that the outfield opening provides a better view across the bay?
There’s also some airplane flyovers for some reason, and a kid who has chosen to go to the game wearing a vintage Dave Stewart jersey and waving an enormous A’s flag:
That poor kid’s day is only going to get worse when he’s told at the gate that banners aren’t allowed to obstruct the view of other fans, plus that Dave Stewart retired in 1995.
- Baltimore Orioles owner John Angelos has promised that the team “will never move” from Baltimore, even while seeking a lease extension and possible renovation of Camden Yards to, as the Baltimore Sun puts it, “keep the team at the stadium for the long term.” You think they give cognitive dissonance lessons at baseball owner school?
- Collapsing soccer stadium deals are all the rage in northern California: No sooner did Ron Burkle pull out of his planned Sacramento Republic F.C. stadium than the city of Fresno put on hold a plan to sell its arena to the owners of Fresno F.C., a former semipro USL League Two team that folded in 2019 but is hoping to return, so that they could build a stadium in the arena parking lot. The stated reason: a 2009 law requiring the city to do due diligence before spending $1 million or more in public money on a private project. Keep on passing those sports subsidy oversight laws, kids!
- The Wilmington Sharks, which as a college wood-bat team I previously might have dismissed as amateur sports but which I should probably start paying attention to now that amateur sports is part of the new minor-league business model, fell $15,000 behind in their rent to the city of Wilmington, N.C., thanks to “a software system error,” and are being allowed to make it up by paying for upgrades to their own stadium instead. (Technically the city’s stadium, but the Sharks owners are the ones who get to use it and profit from it.) Will this get team owners to stop demanding $1.3 million in city money for a more substantial renovation and threatening to leave town otherwise? Do you even have to ask?
- The media drumbeat for a new Tennessee Smokies stadium in Knoxville continues, with a retired Knoxville Chamber of Commerce president being the latest to get free newspaper space to lobby for the city to spend $65 million on the project. Membership does have its privileges.
- New York Islanders president Lou Lamoriello vows that the team’s new arena will be ready to open this fall despite only the lower bowl being completed so far, but would he really say anything otherwise even if it was behind schedule? Anyway, it’ll be open eventually, and if nothing else the past year should have given sports fans a good appreciation of “eventually.”
- Missouri is spending $100,000 on a study of the $16.2 million that the St. Louis Regional Sports Authority spent on trying to keep the St. Louis Rams from leaving town, which they did anyway. Oversight is good and all, but I can’t help feeling like this will be turtles all the way down.