Word “cool” does not mean what article on cool new Vegas arena thinks it means

How sad is the state of journalism in the year 2015? Sadder than the fact that the Las Vegas Review-Journal, an ostensible newspaper that reports on news, ran an article with the headline “10 cool things about the new Strip arena,” because we know these kids today like listicles, or something. No, the sad part is how low the R-J’s bar is for cool:

5. T-Mobile is rumored to have landed the arena naming rights, but company officials are not commenting. Talk of Las Vegas-based Ultimate Fighting Championship buying the name appears to have gone nowhere.

That’s right, Vegas sports fans: It’s cool that your new arena will be named after a cellphone company. Wooooooooooooo! Hey, maybe it’ll even have a cool nickname, like, uh, like, “the T.” That’d be cool!

Other things noted as cool include the fact that luxury suite owners will be able to walk from their cars to their seats via a special bridge so as not to have to hobnob with the hoi polloi, and that Toshiba will be installing face-recognition video cameras to send fans customized digital ads and then measure how long they stand staring at them. (No word on whether Toshiba’s cameras can distinguish staring in fascination and staring in horror.)

The top-ten list does include the fact that MGM and AEG are paying for the arena without public subsidies, which is cool, though in a truly cool world it would just be business as usual. That is not the world we live in, though, so one-tenth of a yay.

Get your Field of Schemes stadium cards and zine reprints, hot off the presses!

I am very pleased to report that the Field of Schemes stadium cards first series and Brooklyn Metro Times original stadium issue reprints are now in the mail, and on their way to readers who’ve kindly donated to this site. Thank you all for your patience, and if you’re expecting tchotchkes and haven’t received them by next week, drop me a line and I’ll look into it.

And for anyone who’d still like to get in on this, I have some card sets and zines remaining, so please consider becoming a FoS Supporter at any of the three donation levels, and I’ll send out your goodies posthaste. Reader donations really are a huge help in enabling me to take the time to bring you the latest stadium and arena news every morning, and I appreciate them more than you can imagine.

Also, while I’m at it, thanks to FoS correspondent David Dyte for providing many of the photos for the cards. And check out his two photo books of Brooklyn and Manhattan, which are well worth some cash as well.cards

NFL ramps up security following terror attacks, achieves 1529th consecutive terror-free week

In response to Friday’s terrorist attacks in Paris (but not in response to Thursday’s terrorist attacks in Beirut, because those weren’t outside a stadium and besides, those people’s lives don’t matter as much), the NFL ramped up security for yesterday’s games. How did they respond to the news that suicide vests, which have been around since the 1940s, are a thing? With bomb-sniffing dogs, increased bag checks, and:

In St. Louis, event staff at the Edward Jones Dome wore red shirts and jackets with the word “SECURITY” in large yellow letters. Previously, their shirts had been a less visible shade of yellow with black lettering.

I don’t want to belittle the desire to show fans that they’re doing something, anything, to enhance stadium safety, really I don’t. But given that the suicide bomber who tried to enter the Stade de France was caught not by dogs or walkthrough detectors but by a simple low-tech patdown — from what I can tell from online research, most explosive vests won’t be caught by metal detectors — that terror groups have shown the ability to learn from the past and choose new targets and techniques to pick the easiest target, and perhaps most important, the bomber still managed to kill people outside the stadium, it definitely feels like this is somewhere between security theater for show and fighting the last war. If the NFL succeeds in ensuring that any future terror attacks take place not inside stadiums but in stadium parking lots or public parks or rock clubs, is that a victory?

Anyway, no one was killed at any NFL stadium yesterday, so hooray for giraffe repellent!

Louisville Yum! Center to allow bringing guns to shows, will still ban pointy umbrellas

If you’ve been jonesing to see Kid Rock’s New Year’s Eve Bash at Louisville’s Yum! Center but didn’t know what to do with your handgun during the show, there’s good news for you:

The Louisville Arena Authority ended its total ban on firearms and agreed Monday to give promoters and booking agents of events at the KFC Yum! Center the right to decide whether ticketed visitors can carry firearms into the downtown arena.

The new policy is in line with a new Kentucky law that bans public and “quasi-public” entities from restricting people with weapons permits from bringing their guns into venues. Since promoters aren’t quasi-public, the public authority that runs the Yum! Center has decided to kick the decision over to them, which means you’ll have to ask Kid Rock for permission to come packing to his show — something he’ll probably be okay with.

You will still be prohibited from bringing cameras with detachable lenses or umbrellas “with pointed tips” into the Yum! Center, because somebody could get hurt with those.

San Diego and St. Louis may have just won stadium vaportecture porn

The cities of San Diego and St. Louis released new stadium promo videos yesterday, and … I’m sorry, I already boggled at these once for Vice Sports, you’ll just have to go read my remarks there.

Or if you just want to boggle on your own, the videos are linked below. In fact, let’s make it a game: How many ridiculous things can you spot in the videos before checking my list? No peeking!

What if they built a new stadium and nobody showed up — oh, hi, 49ers!

Today in empty stadium porn, we present to you the third quarter at yesterday’s San Francisco 49ers home game:

Okay, so maybe that’s the unbearably sunny side of the field, and new stadiums have all kinds of other things for people to do other than actualy sit in your seats and watch the game (I was at Game 2 of the NLCS last night, and the seats behind home plate were empty for most of the game because it was cold and there’s a club where you can sit inside and watch on TV just steps away), and nobody actually goes to football games to watch with their own eyes anymore anyway. Still, it doesn’t exactly show why this place is $1.2 billion preferable to the place they just blew up. Especially not when the game also featured this, courtesy of the still-crappy stadium turf:

Ah, well, the 49ers owners already got their money from fans to pay for the place, so it’s not their problem. If you own a 49ers personal seat license, though, I’ll be wishing on your behalf for the team to get better, and some quirk of climate change to somehow bring rainclouds to the South Bay, I guess.

76ers get back at arena sponsor by printing name on court in tiniest lettering possible

There’s been an escalation in the Philadelphia 76ers‘ ongoing war against their arena’s naming rights sponsor — you can read all about it here, but the short version is the Flyers get all the naming rights cash so the 76ers owners have sworn not to use the corporate name at all — and it is awesome for anyone who’s a fan of passive-aggressive typography:

76ers-2015-16-courtz.focus-none.width-800That is “Wells Fargo Center” written as small as possible, in white lettering against a light-wood floor, so that no one will ever be able to read it or even notice it without a big red oval drawn around it by the Philly Voice’s art department. Apparently the only reason it’s on the court at all is to meet the letter of some league rule — I bet there’s going to be some fun times debating font sizes at the next meeting of the NBA’s Court Branding Subcommittee.

Miami to declare Marlins’ stadium “blighted” so it can spend tax money on Beckham MLS stadium next door

The public subsidy details are starting to emerge for David Beckham’s proposed MLS stadium next to the Miami Marlins‘ baseball stadium: On top of about $35 million in property tax breaks, it now looks like Miami-Dade County would be buying the land for Beckham, and doing so by creating a redevelopment agency to use city and county tax dollars to pay for the stadium land and a possible light rail station:

The agency’s boundaries are suggested to be Flagler Street to the South, Northwest 22nd Avenue to the west, and the Miami River to the north and east, though the resolution says the study being sought could expand that area if needed.

Community redevelopment agencies by statute create trust funds that retain 95% of the increase in tax revenues from their area above the taxes that were collected before the agency was born. The agency uses that money to finance or refinance any redevelopment it undertakes. In this case, it would include stadium land and Metromover construction, though it could include more.

This would be tax-increment financing, in other words, with all the attendant problems thereof. And because redevelopment agencies can only be used for areas in need of redevelopment, this would require the area to be declared “slum and blighted” — including the Marlins’ stadium that opened next door just three years ago in the last attempt at revitalization. This is not going to help get people to Marlins’ games.

ESPN Kevin Johnson doc killed, was more awful even than you thought

On my Google calendar for next Tuesday night, there is a notation for “30 on 30 on Sacramento Kings,” which is the ESPN documentary that was scheduled to run on Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and his successful push to fund a new arena for the Kings. I was so looking forward to watching and commenting on some of the worst bits, but sadly this will now not happen, as ESPN has pulled the show’s airing after revelations that KJ may have molested teenagers and plotted to destroy the National Conference of Black Mayors and run his own secret private government in City Hall — most of which was public knowledge before they made the film, but better late than never, right?

In any event, we can all still point and laugh at the documentary even without seeing it, courtesy of Max Rivlin-Nadler of the New Republic, who got a screening copy and did plenty of pointing and laughing on his own:

Down In The Valley amounts to a 77-minute political advertisement for Johnson, a man who in 1995 paid a 15-year-old over $230,000 to keep quiet after she alleged that he had sexually abused her…

A narrator explains that this often-overlooked city would soon need to call on one of its own to save it. Cut to pictures of a young Kevin Johnson, playing baseball and basketball, and growing up on the rough side of town before developing into a world-famous basketball star.

This sounds Sharknado-level awful, and I’m more sorry than ever that it’s not going to be available for livetweeting.

And what about the Kings arena project, which is set up as Johnson’s finest hour?

The film focuses solely on Johnson for its final hour, letting him provide the play-by-play of the procedures involved in convincing the NBA to not let any new ownership move the team…

Completely missing from the film is any meaningful information about the cost of that new basketball arena. Johnson intentionally crafted the bill approving the arena to be immune to any public referendums, even though the public is on the hook for $226 million, almost half of the cost. Johnson, in his desire to keep the team in the city, convinced software tycoon Vivek Ranadivé to lead up an ownership group to buy out the Maloofs for a then-record $534 million. Johnson then got the city council to pass a spending bill that would avoid a public vote to pay for a new arena for the team, now assured that they would be staying. Down in the Valley mentions none of this.

ESPN, as Rivlin-Nadler notes, has a long history of being caught between its role as a news agency and its role as a network in the business of buying the rights to sporting events and using them to extract huge carriage fees from cable companies, and hasn’t always done the best to balance the two. So it’s not really surprising that ESPN green-lit Down in the Valley, nor that it got spooked and backed away from it at the last minute. I guess we should all just be glad that the network’s vacillation put its decision-making process on full display — and let at least a lucky few get a glimpse at the thing itself. The need to at least pretend to professionalism does have its benefits.

SF Chronicle cut and pasted Warriors arena press release, ran it as news story

I know I’ve often criticized the sports media for doing little more than reprinting teams’ press releases when it comes to stadium and arena coverage, but even I didn’t expect this: The San Francisco Chronicle’s Golden State Warriors reporter has been suspended for literally reprinting a team press release about the Warriors’ arena plans:

The headline for the original Chronicle story and the Warriors’ press release on NBA.com were the same: “Warriors formally purchase Mission Bay site.” The initial story was identical to the release, except that the team referred to itself as the “NBA Champion Golden State Warriors” in its lede, and the Chronicle story left out the “champion” superlative. The only other change was a semicolon in the press release that became two sentences in the Chronicle story.

That’s pretty terrible, but the story gets even worse, as Deadspin has uncovered six more examples of times Warriors beat reporter Rusty Simmons, or his editor Al Saracevic, flat-out copied-and-pasted Warriors press releases. (Most of these were on far more boring topics than arena dealings.) They also asked Simmons for comment, and got this reply:

“I would really like to tell you how that happens, but I’m not allowed. I’m so sorry. …My suspension should be lifted in a couple of days, and we’ll talk.”

I think I speak for everyone when I say: We can’t wait to hear this one.