Happy baseball season! Or not-so-happy baseball season, as Deadspin reminded us in two excellent articles this week, one on all the ways from bag-check fees to card-only transactions that teams are using to separate fans from even more of their money, the other on how fans were stuck on endless lines to get into stadium on opening day because of things like paperless ticketing apps that kept crashing. And on those cheery notes, the rest of the rest of the week’s news:
- St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman says he still hasn’t heard from Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg about whether he wants to try to build a new stadium in St. Pete, and he’s getting impatient: “The [Pinellas] County Commission oversees those TDC [Tourist Development Council] dollars and they’ve indicated they would keep that money in a lock box, but it’s not going to sit there forever.” That’s a new tactic — we have tax money for you, but you have to act now — and it’s not really clear what Sternberg is waiting on, unless he’s still hemming and hawing about whether the reason nobody goes to Rays games is the St. Peterburg location or the Florida location or the fact he’s a lousy owner. Regardless, the Rays will still be in St. Pete through 2026, and after that it’s anyone’s guess, as the Tampa Bay Times concluded in the world’s most boring roundtable.
- The Miami Marlins debuted some changes to their much-reviled stadium this week, including a standing-room-only section in right field that team owner Derek Jeter says is designed to appeal to young people: “A lot of times fans come to games and they don’t necessarily want to sit in their seats. They want to be able to move around, especially the millennial — the younger generation.” Uh, Jeets, there may be other reasons than millennial ADHD that Marlins fans don’t want to sit and watch the game.
- The Milwaukee Bucks‘ new arena that opened last fall has already needed $3 million in upgrades, including bigger cup holders in the lower-level seats because the old ones “can barely hold a cup of coffee.” All together now: Just tear the place down and build a new one.
- Here is a trash article in Bloomberg in which Golden State Warriors team president Rick Welts asserts that the team has already made $2 billion from its new $1.3 billion San Francisco arena “in the form of tickets, suites and sponsorships” before the doors have already opened. Is that for its first year, or does it include multi-year commitments? And how does it compare to what the Warriors would have brought in from those revenue streams in their old Oakland arena? Despite the article taking two people to write, neither of them seem to have bothered to ask those questions, because writing down what important people say and leaving it at that is what journalism is all about, right?
- The projected completion date of the Las Vegas Raiders stadium has been pushed back from July 31, 2020 to August 4, 2020, but also not really pushed back, and besides no one knows when the first Raiders home exhibition game will be in 2020, so get off their backs, okay? Given that this is what the site looks like right now, I’d take the over on any completion date projections — if nothing else, it’s clear why owner Mark Davis included an option for 2020 in his new lease with Oakland.
- Nonvoting D.C. delegate to Congress Eleanor Holmes Norton has introduced a bill to sell the RFK Stadium site to the city of Washington, which would allow it to be used for a Washington NFL team stadium or maybe something else. Figuring out how much D.C. should pay for the site, though, could be tricky, because it currently isn’t zoned for any particular type of development.
- The local resident group Elmont Against The Megamall has proposed using the land the New York Islanders owners want for a new hockey arena for public sports fields instead. That is probably not happening, even if the state isn’t getting much money for its land either way; though another group of local elected officials, this time from Nassau County, expressed qualms about the project’s impact this month, so momentum certainly doesn’t seem to be going the Isles owners’ way.
- The Madison Square Garden Company wants to build a giant sphere-shaped arena in London, and … wait, haven’t we heard this somewhere before?
- The Olympic-quality BMX track that Tulsa is building with public money will now cost $22.8 million instead of $15 million. This is not a sentence I expected to be writing in 2019, but I probably should have.