A Phoenix real-estate developer has teamed with the libertarian Goldwater Institute to sue the city to force the release of its plans regarding renovations to the Suns arena after it denied a standard public-records request. It’s pretty standard for cities to deny such requests — I get Freedom of Information Law requests rejected for this reason all the time — but hey, more power to the lawyers if they want to see if a lawsuit works any better.
Esports arena operators say that the future of sports is people sitting in esports arenas watching people play video games, and the New York Times suggests this could save America’s malls. In my experience, kids mostly want to watch this, and can, by just looking at their phones, but far be it from me to stand in the way of saving America’s malls.
Headline in The Oregonian: “Major League Baseball to Portland leaders: ‘We have a window and we can’t let this go.'” Actual quote in the accompanying article: “That’s why you have Mike and Jason and I and our team so excited, moving so quickly but methodically. We have a window that we can’t let this go to Vegas or San Antonio or Mexico City or somewhere else.” By Craig Cheek, who has no role in MLB, but is just part of a group of owners who want to bring a major league baseball franchise to Portland. Maybe somebody should work on bringing a major league professional newspaper to Portland.
And finally, Noah Pransky’s Shadow of the Stadium blog is shutting down after nine years, which is a shame not only because it’s a great read, but because we’re just now getting to the most important part of the Rays stadium battle, where it’s decided who lives and who dies where a stadium may be built and who’ll pay for it. Pransky will still be reporting on the Rays stadium battles for his day job at WTSP-TV, which means we should see more stuff like this. But still, it’s a sad day — thanks for nine years and 1,500 posts of great work, Noah!
As late as Wednesday, I thought this was turning out to be a slow news week. Then the news made up for it in a hurry:
The New York Islanders owners held a question-and-answer session for residents near their planned new arena on Tuesday, and when asked about how they plan to increase Long Island Railroad service to avoid tons of auto traffic, a state development official said, “We are in very active discussions with the LIRR — meeting with them once a week — and those talks are ramping up.” Hopefully they’re involving Dr. Strange in those discussions, because they badly need to find some new topological dimensions.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson says he plans to talk to Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk about whether he actually plans to pursue the LeBreton Flats arena development he won rights to last year, after Melnyk called it “a huge project with tremendous risk” and said, “If it doesn’t look good here, it could look very, very nice somewhere else, but I’m not suggesting that right now” and “Something’s got to break somewhere and I mean a positive break.” Melnyk has made threats like this before, but you’d think now that he has an agreed sale price for the land he’d be happy; it sure sounds like he’s angling for some additional public subsidies now that he has his mitts on the land, which you can’t really blame him for, since Watson opened the door to that already. Come on, mayor, haven’t you learned yet not to get the can opener out when the cat is around?
Tampa Bay Rays 2020, the group started by the Rays to push for business support for a new stadium, is signing up plenty of members, but DRaysBay notes that “the real test of commitment will come when businesses are asked to make clearer financial commitments to a stadium plan.” Yeah, no duh. (The subhead here, “Business leaders line up behind stadium plan, but financing questions linger,” is also a masterpiece of understatement.)
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says that the Toronto Blue Jays‘ Rogers Centre “needs an update to make it as economically viable as possible,” noting that other stadiums “have millennial areas, things like that that have been built and become popular more recently.” So, like, an Instagram parlor?
Here’s a story about how 25 years ago the NHL handed Norman Green the rights to move the Minnesota North Stars to any open market as consolation for putting an expansion team in Anaheim, where he’d wanted to move, and he ended up going to Dallas. Also it has Roger Staubach in the headline for some reason.
And here’s a story about how 50 years ago NHL expansion inadvertently kicked off the rise of arena rock, which is probably overstated but it has links to vintage Cream videos in it, if you like that sort of thing.
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan is in talks with the Football Association to buy London’s Wembley Stadium for £600 million, which is certain to raise eyebrows about the possibility of the Jags moving to London, but is probably for right now more about Fulham F.C., which Khan also owns, being about to get promoted to the Premier League and wanting a bigger place to play. Khan also said, “I think it needs investment and updating. Compared to American stadiums the video boards are something that need to be looked at. The lounges are a little bit dated.” The current Wembley Stadium was built in 2007.