Become an FoS Supporter, get cool swag, enough karma points to last till 2016!

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:

citifield

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.


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Welcome new FoS convention center correspondent Heywood Sanders!

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.

Sports on Earth blows up real good

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…

Live chat this Wednesday, plus: buttons!

The next Field of Schemes live chat will be this Wednesday, June 16, at 1 pm Eastern, or 10 am Pacific, or 11 pm if you’re in Almaty, Kazakhstan and want to discuss the 2022 Winter Olympics bid. All FoS Supporters at any level get to join in. (Archive of last month’s chat is now publicly viewable here.)

And speaking of membership having its privileges, the long-awaited Field of Schemes Supporter buttons are finally here on my kitchen table, and will begin winging their way to site supporters shortly. If you can’t live without one of these, or just want to help me keep devoting my time to reporting the latest stadium and arena news for this site, sign up today!

Live members-only stadium chat, Friday, noon Eastern

Way back when I was soliciting Supporter memberships back in December, one of the perks of membership that I promised was monthly live chats with me about whatever y’all wanted to talk about. (Presumably something related to stadium and arena funding, but if somebody wants to discuss the relative merits of Feelies albums, I’m game.) I spent some time looking at chat plugins, most of which seem to be designed for people doing online tech support, then eventually got distracted by reporting stadium news and didn’t get back to it.

Anyway, I’ve decided enough fumfering around: This Friday, I’ll be conducting a members-only chat from noon to 1 pm Eastern time, on this site. To make things simple, the chat will be conducted in the comments section of a password-protected post (password will be emailed out to Supporters momentarily), and will afterwards be archived for all to see.

So as not to leave non-Supporters out, you can play along by submitting topics for discussion in the comments section of this post, and I’ll do my best to address them as time allows on Friday. Unless we get caught up in heated The Good Earth vs. Crazy Rhythms debates, in which case all bets are off.

Become a FoS Supporter for 2014! (Now with actual tchotchkes!)

It’s been a little over six months since I last asked FoS readers to chip in to help pay for this site, and man, it was quite a six months: We had the crazy denouement of the Sacramento Kings relocation battle, the Atlanta Falcons’ squabble over relocating century-old churches to make way for their new stadium, Cobb County’s stunning announcement of plans to lure the Atlanta Braves to the suburbs with $300 million in public money, and a pile of other sports stadium and arena stories each more bizarre than the next. It’s all been great for site traffic, but the flood of news also requires more of my time to keep up, all at the sub-minimum-wage levels provided by Google Ads and the occasional book royalty.

So with a new year dawning and no doubt more sports subsidy insanity on its way, I’m putting out a call for new FoS Supporters who’d like to kick in $50 (or $100 for the full year) in exchange for getting the right to put whatever you like in the rotating ad space at the top right corner of this page. (You can submit your own 250×90 pixel image, or send me text and I’ll design one for you.) Plus, I’m introducing a new “Mini-Supporter” level, which doesn’t get you the ad space, but does get you a cool new button that you can baffle your friends and ballgame neighbors with, access to members-only online chats with yours truly, and some other goodies as yet to be determined, plus the usual warm fuzzy feeling of knowing you’re helping make the world a more stadium-knowledgeable place. (Full Supporters get all this stuff as well, plus double the warm fuzzies.) Maybe next year, I’ll work up to tote bags.

Full deets are below, and the button to click on to sign up is below that. As always, I am eternally grateful for both the monetary and moral support (and occasional moral outrage) I get from readers of this site, and I hope that with your help I can go on doing this until it’s time to build yet another Atlanta Braves stadium. Which the way things are going, is likely to be about five minutes after the new one opens.


For those of you who read FoS regularly and would like a way to support the cause, you can now become an FoS Supporter. Starting in 2014, there are three different membership levels:

  • Mini-Supporters ($25 for one year) get not just the warm glow of knowing that they’re enabling me to keep on reporting daily on stadium and arena news while silencing the voice in my head that says “Shouldn’t you be doing real work?” but also: a one-inch members-only pin (pictured at right), based on the great Scott MX Turner’s moneybags design; access to members-only live monthly web chats; plus anything else I can think up during the year that seems fun and doesn’t require me to learn how to laser-etch iPhone covers out of sustainable wood or anything.
  • Six-Month Supporters ($50 for six months) get all the mini-supporter benefits plus the ability to place an ad in the top-right banner space, which will be viewed on a rotating basis with other member ads. Messages can be anything from “I Support Field of Schemes and I Vote” to “Read My Website, It’s Way Better Than This One” or anything else that will fit legibly in a 90×250-pixel space. (You’re welcome to send me your own display ad, or I’ll design one for you if you send the text.) I do retain veto power over needlessly offensive or inaccurate messages, so “Jeffrey Loria Is a Booger Brain” would be ruled out of order. Probably. Unless you could provide citations.
  • One-Year Supporters ($100 for one year) get all of the above, but your ad will be put in place for (wait for it) one year.

Stated in traditional fundraising-drive cups of coffee, even full Supporter status is only one cup of coffee every five days. Or, if you prefer, “Sure, I can give him 50 bucks once, I’ll just let somebody else sign up after my six months are up, and read for free then like always!” Group memberships are welcome, too, if you and some friends want to pool your pocket change and sign up that way.

Either way, your support will be greatly appreciated, since Google Ads and the occasional book sale don’t go very far. (Not that I wouldn’t welcome more book sales — and then you get an actual physical object! Or a non-physical object if you go for the cheaper electronic edition!)

To join, just choose your preferred option and click the big button below, then type your mailing address into the “message” field. Thanks in advance for your support.


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Don’t let anything important happen the next week or two, okay?

I’m going to be traveling the next week and a half, so posting will be a good bit lighter than the firehose of stadium and arena news we’ve seen in recent weeks. (Though I doubt I can stop myself from following the Phoenix Coyotes saga, even while on vacation, so I’ll likely be chiming in on that from time to time.) I’ll even be skipping my regular Tuesday morning radio spot on KUCI with Heather McCoy this week for the first time since last June, returning to the airwaves (and webwaves) on July 9.

Feel free to use the comments on this item as an open thread to discuss anything you might feel like. I promise to bring you all presents when I get back, or at least some new stadium photos.

Become an FoS Supporter, get guaranteed better returns than Miami got on its Marlins stadium

It’s been a while since I’ve asked FoS readers for any contributions to keep this website going. A long while back I had a tip jar that many of you folks generously donated to, and while it was a huge help in my never-ending campaign to pay myself at least minimum wage for the hours I put in here, I never quite felt right about just asking for money and not giving back anything more than a brief thank you.

For those of you who read FoS regularly and would like a way to support the cause, you can now become an FoS Supporter. Members will get not just the warm glow of knowing that they’re enabling me to keep on reporting daily on stadium and arena news while silencing the voice in my head that says “Shouldn’t you be doing real work?” but will also get the ability to place an ad in the top-right banner space, which will be viewed on a rotating basis with no more than nine other ads. Messages can be anything from “I Support Field of Schemes and I Vote” to “Read My Website, It’s Way Better Than This One” or anything else that will fit legibly in a 90×250-pixel space. (You’re welcome to send me your own display ad, or I’ll design one for you if you send the text.) I do retain veto power over needlessly offensive or inaccurate messages, so “Jeffrey Loria Is a Booger Brain” would be ruled out of order. Probably. Unless you could provide citations.

The membership fee is just $50 for six months in the Supporters’ Corner, or $100 for a full year. Stated in traditional fundraising-drive cups of coffee, that’s only one cup of coffee every five days. Or, if you prefer, “Sure, I can give him 50 bucks once, I’ll just let somebody else sign up after my six months are up, and read for free then like always!” Group memberships are welcome, too, if you and some friends want to pool your pocket change and sign up that way.

Either way, your support will be greatly appreciated, since Google Ads and the occasional book sale don’t go very far. (Not that I wouldn’t welcome more book sales — and then you get an actual physical object! Or a non-physical object if you go for the cheaper electronic edition!)

To join, just click the big button below. Thanks in advance for your support.


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Frankenstorm status report

Pretty windy here at Field of Schemes HQ, but otherwise no major impact from Hurricane Sandy as of yet. Electrical lines here are all below ground, so I’m not expecting we’ll lose power, but if I disappear for a day or so, that’s probably what’s happened.

I’ll be back with some more stadium news shortly, but in the meantime if you want to hear me talk about something completely different — this storm and its relation to climate change — you can tune in the interview I did with WBAI radio in New York this morning (my segment starts around the 17-minute mark).

Hold that thought…

I’ll be doing some site upgrades for the next few hours, so things may be a bit wonky during that time, and comments will be briefly disabled. I’ll update this item once things are back to (more or less) normal.

UPDATE: The transition is now complete, and you may resume your normal commenting activities. If you notice anything that seems off-kilter, either post in comments below or email me at the address at left.