Well, that was certainly something to wake up to on a post-Thanksgiving Friday morning. Not sure how many U.S. readers are checking the internet today, but if that’s you and you’re looking for some non-Canadian stadium and arena news for your troubles, we have that too:
- I’ve often cautioned against judging stadium deals based on whether projected tax revenues come in ahead of or behind projections, because either way taxpayers are on the hook for the same amount of cost, but still and all it can’t be good news that Clark County has had to dip into a reserve fund for $11.55 million to pay Las Vegas Raiders stadium costs because hotel tax receipts are through the floor. (The Raiders’ $750 million stadium subsidy is technically being paid for by the state, but with a tax surcharge on Clark County hotels, and anyway Clark County is the borrower of last resort if the tax money doesn’t come through, which right now it isn’t. Also, I still can’t type “Clark County” without thinking of this guy.)
- There’s new documentary airing Monday on Georgia Public Broadcasting about the construction and impact on surrounding communities of the Atlanta Falcons‘ new stadium (aka Megatron’s Butthole), and if the program’s title — “Rising Up: A Westside Story” — doesn’t give you a hint about where this is headed, then the fact that it was commissioned by Falcons owner Arthur Blank should get you the rest of the way there. “He wanted to document attempting to fulfill a couple of his dreams for the city of Atlanta, which were to build the greatest sports and entertainment complex in the world and to try to lift the Westside out of poverty and to make the benefits of the stadium expand across Northside Drive to the folks in those neighborhoods,” Falcons stadium czar Mike Egan tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and what’s the point of doing a solid for your city by accepting around $700 million in tax money if you can’t make a self-aggrandizing TV show about it?
- Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts says he might have to slash player payroll despite getting federal historic tax credits for his renovations of Wrigley Field to make it less historic and more like an upscale private bar, explaining, “I wish I could get tax credits and give them to baseball players, but I can’t.” Um, that’s exactly what you could do, Tom! Perhaps you meant to say, I wish I could get tax credits and give them to baseball players, but I’ve already decided to use them to pay myself back for my own profit-generating stadium renovations, despite being part of a billionaire family that could cover the cost ourselves if we wanted?
- The Kansas City Star asked Royals owner John Sherman what he thought of building a new stadium downtown, and Sherman replied, “Over the next 10 years, we’ll be evaluating different ideas,” and the Star ran with the headline “Royals Owner Does Not Rule Out Downtown Ballpark” because for some reason the Kansas City news media are the world’s biggest downtown Royals stadium stans.
- The Charlotte Business Journal has noted that ticket prices rose an average of 37% at the six most recent NFL stadiums that opened, and suggests that this is a thing that could happen as well to Carolina Panthers tickets if that team gets a new stadium, and yup, checks out.
- The city of Baltimore is seeking proposals to renovate its downtown arena, because surely the middle of a pandemic is the best time to evaluate whether to spend money on upgrading a sports venue that no actual sports teams play at. “Other arenas will have to rethink and retrofit themselves to be state-of-the-art to get people to feel comfortable post-COVID,” said Baltimore Development Corp. president Colin Tarbert, managing to keep a straight face while saying it. “This is a great opportunity to start fresh.”
- The new state-funded Long Island Railroad station for the new New York Islanders arena is under construction, but no one knows how many fans will be able to get to it without changing trains or who will pay for shuttle buses to get them from the train station to the arena. Details!
- In case you’re wondering, I asked a couple of Brooklyn elected officials what they thought about New York City paying to upgrade Staten Island’s baseball stadium in part so it could steal Brooklyn’s rugby team, but neither of them got back to me with a statement before the holiday. Stay tuned next week for more gripping developments!