It looks like a slow news day today — unless you count MLS commissioner Don Garber trying to simultaneously leverage stadiums in two cities by saying Sacramento might jump ahead of Miami in expansion line, but probably won’t — so let me take the opportunity to thank all of our Field of Schemes Supporters for helping keep this site going into its (gulp) 18th year of reporting on stadium and arena shenanigans.
I know that crowdfunding is an accepted thing now, but I am still honored and humbled by the fact that enough of you are willing to chip in to support this site — a site you could read for free with no shame, and which thousands of other people do — that this has become, while not exactly a wildly lucrative way for me to spend an hour or two each morning, at least something that isn’t leading me into total financial ruin. You people rock, and I’m not just saying that to butter you up for more donations.
That said, if you would like to join (or rejoin) our happy crew, the signup form is below. All new members will get the pin and the first series of stadium cards and the zine reprint; if I’ve already sent you some of those, you’ll still get put on the list to receive any future tchotchkes that I put together in 2016. (FoS correspondent David Dyte is jonesing to have me use some of his football stadium photos for a second card series, for one.) In addition, donors at the $50 and $100 levels will continue to get ad space in the site banner, to use for whatever you like. And I’ll be keeping my brain peeled for other appropriate rewards — if you have any requests, feel free to suggest them in comments or drop me an email.
Seriously, thanks again for all your contributions — even if it’s just by providing an informative or hilarious comment that brightens my day — both past and future. I think this site both performs an important service and provides a valuable place for those of us fascinated by the sports stadium racket to discuss the latest shenanigans, and I cannot overstate how much your participation means to me.
Okay, enough sentimentality — send me cash! (Which I’m pretty sure is what Stan Kroenke said at the NFL owners meetings this week.)
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.
Programming note to all cellphone and tablet readers: I finally discovered what was going awry with the mobile site (plugin “upgrade” that was a lemon), and have now restored everything to the old version. Please let me know, either in comments or via email, if you notice any recurrent problems viewing Field of Schemes on mobile devices.
Almost forgot to mention that I’m heading out of town, um, about twelve hours ago, and will remain on my travels for the rest of this week. I still have internet connectivity (obviously), so I’ll still be chiming in on the most important issues of the day when possible. But if I go a couple of days without reporting on the latest twists and turns in your favorite lawsuit, say, don’t worry, we’ll all catch up when I return.
In the meantime, feel free to consider this an open thread for comments on news that I haven’t gotten to yet. Regular programming will return July 6.
And finally, it’s that time of year again: The time when I rattle my tip jar, point out that Google ads don’t go that far toward paying the bills around here, and ask for the generosity of my readers to help keep me getting up every morning to tackle what seems to be an ever-growing list of stadium and arena controversies. Plus, FoS Supporters get more for their contribution than my mere undying gratitude:
- Anyone contributing even $25 for the year will get an FoS Supporter pin, plus the full set of FoS stadium trading cards (which will be printed and shipped real soon now, I promise), if you’re not already in the queue to receive them.
- New supporters (or those extending existing memberships) will get an additional all-new tchotchke that I’ve dug up: reprints of the original self-published zine that contained the first feature article (by myself and fellow zine co-editor Joanna Cagan) that eventually turned into the book Field of Schemes and this website:
- As always, anyone who digs deeper will also get the right to place an ad saying anything you want (within the bounds of reason and decency) in the top right corner of this page for six months ($50) or a full year ($100).
To contribute, just click here and follow the instructions at the bottom of the page. And if you want me to mail you your trinkets, be sure to include your mailing address in comments, so I know where to send them.
Thanks as always for your support, whether it comes in the form of cash money or just appreciative emails and comments. I never thought I’d be doing this for this long, but as there’s clearly still a need, I plan on keeping up this daily grind as long as I can afford to do so (and my typing fingers don’t give out).
A bit of blog business while we all wait to see if that Orlando City S.C. no-public-money stadium offer is for real (reply still hazy, ask again later): See that little blue “Like” button over to the right, underneath the baseball stadium photo? Clicking that will add you to the list of people who have Liked Field of Schemes on Facebook, enabling you to get notices of the latest stadium reports in your news feed along with your daily allowance of cat GIFs.
Even if you hate reading news on Facebook, though — it really does distract from the cat-watching — there’s a reason to click that button if you value the reporting that goes on here. That’s because, thanks to the magic of Mark Zuckerberg’s secret algorithms, every Like that this page gets is also a vote for it to be seen by more Facebook users. Eventually, Facebook starts even recommending pages to people who’ve never heard of them, which helps spread the news here to an even wider audience, which is kind of the point of doing all this. (And also somehow gets converted into money to pay me for me time in bringing you this news, or so the underpants gnomes tell me.)
Obviously, if you’re here to hate-read me and post comments about how unfair I am by subjecting your favorite team’s stadium dreams to the harsh realities of math, don’t click that blue button. (Hate-readers are still welcome here, I hope it goes without saying.) But if you’d like to help spread the word about Field of Schemes and all that we write about, it would be weirdly helpful for you to inform the Facebook bots that you feel that way. Thanks!
Joanna Cagan and I wrote the first edition of Field of Schemes so long ago that we actually did research by compiling physical pieces of paper and placing them into cardboard folders. (This should not be seen as a commentary on the current, all-updated edition of Field of Schemes, which was written entirely with nanotechnology while flying around on our jetpacks.) As was the way of things in the late 20th century, we then put the folders in boxes, and the boxes in closets, and forgot all about them.
As it so happens, both Joanna and I are looking to reclaim our closets (Joanna because she’s about to move cross-country, me because I just want more closet space), and these 17-year-old book research files need to go. At the same time, there’s no doubt some useful information in there for future researchers — let’s see, this first box I pulled out has some early article drafts, clippings from now-defunct newspapers (New York Newsday, R.I.P.), Nexis searches, hey, it’s the catalog (and my name tag) from that stadium finance conference where Jay Cross talked about how referendums are a good thing because you can always just buy the outcome if you’re worried. I have a bunch of original cassettes containing recorded interviews as well that I’d love to
get out of my house make available to researchers.
If you are a librarian or archivist or know one who might be interested in taking possession of the Field of Schemes papers, please drop me a line here. We’re probably talking about six or seven file boxes total, to be picked up or shipped from New York City. No serious offers turned away, not even if you plan on using this material to craft a papier-maché effigy of Roger Goodell. (Actually, that might get you bonus points.)
Questions welcome in comments or via email. But hurry, because Joanna’s moving van can’t wait forever.
It’s that time again! If you love, or even like, or even find yourself enraged by but can’t live without what you’ve read on Field of Schemes this past year, please consider becoming an FoS Supporter. In addition to the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped allow me to devote multiple hours to this site every day and at least approach minimum wage in return, you get stuff!
- Full-Year Supporters ($100) receive an ad of their choice in the top right corner of this space, on a rotating basis, for 12 months. They also get all the premiums listed below.
- Half-Year Supporters ($50) receive the same premiums and the ad, but only for (wait for it) six months.
- Mini-Supporters ($25) receive just the premiums.
Premiums: In addition to the FoS Supporter pins that we debuted last year, you’ll receive a limited-edition set of 12 stadium and arena trading cards, with photos taken by myself and FoS correspondent David Dyte (photographer/author of As Seen In Brooklyn — see more of his photos here), and all your favorite stadium swindle stats and trivia on the back. Design isn’t completely finalized yet, but they’ll look something like this:
You’ll also get access to live chats with myself (and, I’m hoping, some other stadium experts as well) throughout the year. Although, after the initial round of chats this year, I’ve concluded that these work better if they’re open to questions from all, not just Supporters, so most 2015 chats won’t be subscription-only. Your donations will still help me afford the time to organize and conduct the chats, though, so if you think that’s worth some of your hard-earned cash, please consider Supportership. To sign up, click here! That’s here! (Or the button below, which works the same.)
Any questions, drop me an email, or just ask in comments below. And as always, huge thanks to those who have contributed over the last year and a half of the Supporter program: I’ve been able to provide far more comprehensive coverage of the ever-expanding world of sports (and sometimes non-sports) subsidies as a result, and both I and the rest of the readers of this site are eternally grateful.
I am very pleased to welcome as a correspondent to this site University of Texas-San Antonio economist Heywood Sanders, author of the new book Convention Center Follies and my (and everyone’s, really) go-to expert on how convention centers are just as wasteful public subsidy scams as sports stadiums. Sanders will be contributing occasional items on developments in the convention center world, the first of which should be hitting your screens shortly. Stay tuned to this space. Well, not this exact space, the space above it. Or to the side, if you’re using the mobile site. You know what I mean.
Sorry for the lack of news posts yesterday, but I had some other stuff to work on in the morning, then news broke that Sports on Earth, where I’ve written 2-3 times a month since last fall, was shutting down. Also not shutting down. Actually pretty much shutting down after all, even if the site will live on in name only.
This sucks for me as a journalist, because under editor Larry Burke, SoE had become a terrific place to explore important topics in-depth, and get paid an actual living wage while doing so. But it also sucks for me as a reader, because now I won’t be able to read all the great work being done by Patrick Hruby and Jeb Lund and Howard Megdal and … I’m going to stop there before I start worrying about who I’m leaving out, but so many other talented sportswriters who are suddenly out of a job. Or rather, I’m sure I’ll still get to read them somewhere, but not all in one place, and probably not with as much freedom to explore the nooks and crannies of the sports world as they were afforded at SoE.
Anyway, for the immediate future the bulk of my sportswriting will be here, though I do have one article in the pipeline for another outlet. Thanks to all of my supporters for helping pay the bills so I can devote time to this site (if you’d like to become one, that’s what this hotlink is for), and thanks to every Field of Schemes reader for reading, and commenting, and retweeting, and all that good stuff.
And now for the news…