Friday roundup: Raiders’ Oakland deal still not done, A’s stadium plan gets rounder edges, Flames arena vote delayed

Let’s get right to the week’s news roundup:

  • NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Monday that Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis was on the verge of an agreement with Oakland officials to stay put in Oakland for 2019 and possibly 2020, and four days later, they still appear to have moved no closer than the verge. More news as events warrant, if they ever do.
  • We have new renderings for the proposed Oakland A’s stadium at Howard Terminal, and they look slightly less doofy than the old renderings, or at least somewhat less angular. Odds that any ballpark will look remotely like this if a Howard Terminal stadium is ever built: two infinities to one. Odds that a Howard Terminal stadium is ever built: Somewhat better, but I still wouldn’t hold your breath.
  • The Calgary city council put off a vote on a term sheet for a new Flames arena on Tuesday, after a marathon meeting that the public was barred from. They’ll be meeting in private again on Monday, and still plan not to tell anyone what the deal looks like until they’ve negotiated it with the Flames owners, which Calgary residents are not super happy about.
  • Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer still really really wants a new arena of his own by 2024, and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times show that he met with Inglewood Mayor James Butts as early as June 2016 to try to get Madison Square Garden to give up its lease on his preferred arena site before they found out he wanted to build an arena there. This is mostly of interest if you like gawking at warring sports billionaires, but if you do you’re in luck, because the battle seems likely to continue for a long time yet.
  • The Miami Marlins are turning the former site of their Red Grooms home run sculpture in center field into a “three-tier millennial park” with $10 standing-room tickets, because apparently millennials are broke and hate sitting down? They’ve gotta try something, I guess, and this did help get them a long Miami Herald article about their “rebranding” efforts, so sure, millennial park it is.
  • Building a football stadium for a college football team and hoping to fill it up with lots of Bruce Springsteen concerts turns out, shockingly, not to have been such a great idea. UConn’s Rentschler Field loses money most years, and hasn’t hosted a major concert since 2007, with the director of the agency that runs it griping, “The summers are generally slow, the springs are generally muddy, and the falls are UConn’s.” And nobody built lots of new development around a stadium that hosts only nine events a year, likewise shockingly. It still could have been worse, though: Hartford could have spent even more money on landing the New England Patriots.
  • Speaking of failed sports developments, the new Detroit Red Wings arena district is “shaping up to be a giant swath of blacktop,” reports Deadline Detroit, which also revealed that the city has failed to penalize the team’s owners for missing development deadlines, and has held out the possibility of more public subsidies if he ever does build anything around the arena. At least the Ilitches are finally paying for the extra police needed to work NHL games, though, so that’s something.
  • Oklahoma City is considering using up to $92 million to build a 10,000-seat USL stadium that could later be expanded for MLS, because of course they are.
  • Here is an article that cites “an economic development expert” as saying that hosting a Super Bowl could be worth $1 billion in “economic activity” to Las Vegas, saying he based this on the results of last year’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis. Actual increased tax receipts for Minneapolis during the game: $2.4 million. It took me 30 seconds to research this, but apparently the Las Vegas Review-Journal is too high and mighty to use Google. Do not reward them with your clicks.

Friday roundup: Leaky fountains, cheap stadium beer, and the magic of computers

The world may be on vacation this week, but the stadium news decidedly is not:

Friday roundup: Panthers’ record sale price goosed by public money, Beckham stadium delayed yet again, Rams stadium really will cost $4B-plus

Google looks to have broken all of its RSS feeds, so if I missed anything important this week, drop me an email and I’ll play catchup next week:

Rose Bowl nixes hosting NFL team, L.A. temporary stadium options down to Coliseum or playing in street

The Pasadena-controlled board that owns the Rose Bowl voted this week not to bid to provide a temporary home to an NFL team in Los Angeles, saying they would rather host an annual music festival instead. (The music festival wouldn’t be during the NFL season, but its environmental impact statement requires that the Rose Bowl not host pro football if the festival takes place.)

This still leaves the NFL with a bunch of options, but as the Los Angeles Times’ Sam Farmer and Nathan Fenno report, they’re all problematic. Dodger Stadium and Angel Stadium are baseball stadiums, and not only does the NFL hate playing in baseball stadiums, but baseball teams hate sharing digs with football, which messes up their schedule and tears up the grass. The Los Angeles Galaxy‘s StubHub Center in Carson only holds 27,000 — though NFL stadium consultant Marc Ganis tried to put a happy face on this to the L.A. Times, saying, “There’s something interesting about playing in a smaller facility, to start with creating a scarcity of tickets and increase the level of interest early on,” yeah, right — and is run by AEG, which already has no love for the NFL after having its own downtown L.A. stadium plan shot down.

That leaves the L.A. Coliseum, which would be fine but for two things: First off, USC’s lease on the Coliseum only allows it to host one NFL team, which would be a problem if, say, both the Raiders and Chargers needed temporary homes while waiting for a new stadium to be completed. Second, it’s really hard to get a bidding war going with only one serious bidder, so any team wanting to bunk at the Coliseum temporarily likely just saw its prospective rent go up.

This probably isn’t enough to be more than a speed bump en route to a new L.A. NFL stadium (and team), but given that the finances of such a project already look shaky enough, you never know which is going to be the speed bump that breaks the camel’s back. (Yeah, I know the metaphor doesn’t really make sense, work with me here.) The fight to be the future home of the Raiders, Chargers, and Rams still seems like a battle that no one can possibly win — it’s one reason I don’t expect any resolution soon, but I guess we’ll get some hints, maybe, following the August owners’ meetings.

State-funded Syracuse stadium would cost $495m, plus land and parking lots

Syracuse University has provided more details about its proposed new state-subsidized football stadium, which are:

  • Cost would be $495 million plus parking structures and land acquisition, the cost of which aren’t outlined.
  • The stadium would seat 44,000 (down from the Carrier Dome’s 49,000), with a retractable roof so it could host basketball and other indoor events while also events that need to be outdoors, like, um, professional snowball fights?
  • “Additional development of a 250-room hotel, over 160 apartments and 150,000 feet of retail space.” No word on how that would be paid for, or whether there would be penalties if it didn’t happen; the university said it would require “additional discussions.”
  • “The facility’s operating budget would pay for the extra police, fire and other public services needed.”
  • Whether the site would pay property taxes is undecided, but in any case the university wouldn’t pay any, since it would just be a tenant.

That’s clear as mud, but at least it’s something. Also noteworthy: The SU consultant who wrote the letter demanding public funds is Irwin Raij, the same guy who New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo hired two years ago to be his state stadium negotiations czar. It’s always more profitable when you can work both sides of the street.

Syracuse officials: Stadium may be on back burner, but we still love subsidies, really!

It looks like that $500 million Syracuse University football stadium (with $300 million paid for by New York taxpayers) may be on hold for the moment, as Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner’s public questioning of the project’s funding has led Gov. Andrew Cuomo to put off formally proposing the plan. And this has two Syracuse city councilmembers freaking out that developers might think this means their city isn’t interested in throwing money at them anymore:

“Don’t turn your back on the city of Syracuse just because we weren’t able to launch this project,” Councilor-at-Large Kathleen Joy said today in an hour-long editorial board meeting at syracuse.com / The Post-Standard.

“Take a chance on us,” Councilor-at-Large Jean Kessner said….

Conversations about the stadium may continue, Kessner said, though Joy held out less hope. Moreover, they worry that the lack of agreement among local officials about the possible deal may send a message that Syracuse isn’t ready to take on large-scale developments that could mean new jobs and more property tax payments in the city.

Remember, people: They can smell desperation.

Cuomo to propose $300m in public money for new Syracuse college football stadium

I really do try to steer clear of college sports on this site, because I have to draw the line somewhere, but HOLY CRAP NEW YORK STATE IS TALKING ABOUT GIVING SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY $300 MILLION TOWARD A NEW STADIUM!

[Onondaga County Executive Joanie] Mahoney and other county officials this week expressed dismay that [Mayor Stephanie] Miner would not endorse the project in time for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to include it in his upcoming state budget, which he will unveil Jan. 21. Cuomo had signaled his willingness to provide some $200 million in state money for the deal, Mahoney said. The county was prepared to provide $100 million or more.

The bulk of the Syracuse Post-Standard article linked above is about a squabble over a feasibility study that Mahoney got a taxpayer-funded nonprofit to do for the university — which Syracuse then refused to share the result of with lawmakers, because they said they were afraid then the public might get to see it. That’s pretty bad in itself, but seriously, $300 million in public subsidies? For a college football stadium? For a private university? I’m not completely sure that’s a record, but I’ll be surprised if it isn’t.

Syracuse University has been talking about replacing the Carrier Dome, which has an old-fashioned inflated fixed roof, with a new 40,000-seat stadium with a totally modern and shiny and stuff retractable roof, for a few weeks now, because, duh, shiny! I haven’t seen a price tag for the entire project mentioned, so it’s impossible to say how much of a share the state and county’s $300 million would kick in, but given that the most expensive college stadium ever cost only $450 million, even adding a retractable roof couldn’t get you much past $600-700 million. So we’re likely talking about New York state taxpayers being asked to put up around half the cost of a new stadium to benefit a private university’s sports teams. Criminy.

Colorado State thinks a $246m football stadium will help balance its budget

I’m not sure what to say about this that isn’t already covered by the included quote from an opponent to the plan: “This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.”

Faced with declining state funding, [Colorado State University] is raising money to build a $246 million, 40,000-seat football stadium on its Fort Collins campus. University President Tony Frank says the new facility will help build a winning football team while advancing one of the school’s highest priorities: attracting more out-of-state students paying higher tuition.

You can sort of understand why CSU is desparate: Its state funding has been slashed in recent years, and it now only gets 10% of its budget from the state, so bringing in higher-paying students sounds like a solution. Frank notes that the University of Oregon built a whole bunch of new athletic facilities and doubled its share of nonresident students — though neither he nor the Wall Street Journal article attempts to determine if that’s the main reason, or even whether the increased tuition payments at Oregon have been enough to pay off the athletic facilities (which in any case at Oregon have mostly been funded by donations from Nike founder Phil Knight).

Then there’s this little problem:

No academic research exists to support the notion that a new stadium helps a college football team win, experts say. Nor will it necessarily attract more fans. The universities of Akron and Minnesota both moved from off-campus to new on-campus stadiums in 2009. Both saw initial attendance bumps before attendance dropped below pre-new-stadium levels.

Maybe if Colorado State thinks that out-of-state students will come based on a winning football team, it should skip all this stadium-building nonsense and just pay for some better players. Oh wait.

Things we missed during PoopGate

Just when things in the stadium and arena world seemed to be quieting down for the summer, we had a bit of a crazy week, thanks to all those sewage leaks and threats to move teams to various places. As a result, a few things fell through the cracks this week, so let’s catch up with a quick roundup post:

Mississippi Division I-AA school wants to build $200m dome

I try not to spend too much time on college sports — there are only so many hours in the day, so let’s just say this: Jackson State University wants to build a $200 million domed college football stadium. Yes, Jackson State of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, part of the secondary tier of college football formerly known as Division I-AA. The money is supposed to come from “private donors, sponsorship sales, the Mississippi government and money from selling Veterans Memorial Stadium and the surrounding land,” and (you knew this was coming) it’s not just for college football:

The stadium would not be strictly for football use, either, as Jackson State’s basketball team would play home games there and concerts and other events would take place in the new stadium as well. The plan would be to have the stadium in use for about 200 days a year.

Two hundred days a year, people. For a domed football stadium in a city with 170,000 people and shrinking. About the most you can say for it is that it’d give Jackson State something to be known for other than having city police fire shotguns indiscriminately into a dorm and killing two students.