We made it another week further into the future! Sure, it’s a future that looks too much like the recent past — bad pandemic planning and stadium deals with increasingly more well-disguised subsidies — and we’re all still here discussing the same scams that I really thought were going to be a momentary fad 25 years ago. But the zombie apocalypse hasn’t arrived yet, so that’s something! Also the Star Trek: Lower Decks season finale was really excellent. Gotta stop and smell the flowers before refocusing on the underlying horror of society!
And with that, back to laughing to keep from crying:
- Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan has put a price tag on the development subsidies he’s asking for on building a bunch of buildings in his stadium’s parking lot: $167.8 million in construction costs, infrastructure, and tax breaks on a hotel, plus a $65 million loan that will be paid back at ?? time and at ??? interest. Or, as the Florida Times-Union helpfully headlines it, “$152 million in incentives.” The Times-Union also reports that “the city would own the entertainment district, which would keep the property off the city’s tax rolls” and that Khan’s “estimated $7.8 billion net worth earned him the 66th spot on Forbes’ list of richest Americans”; it doesn’t say when the city council is expected to vote on this plan, or whether there will be public hearings or just lots of private discussions, as councils like to do these days whenever possible.
- Some development is finally being built around the Hartford Yard Goats stadium, only several years later than it was promised, but mostly this article is entertaining for the bit where the developer thinks that people will be relocating out of New York and Boston because of the pandemic but also relocating to Hartford because the pandemic will be over soon.
- F.C. Barcelona‘s vice-president claims that the club’s $957 million stadium renovation project will more than pay for itself, by adding 6,000 seats and 70 corporate boxes and enabling the sale of $50 million a year (!) in naming rights, totaling $150 million a year in new revenue against only $50 million a year in debt payments. This seems dubious to me, even if there wasn’t reason to think pretty much everything coming out of the current team management is pretty dubious; but Goldman Sachs, which is lending the money for the project, seems sold, so if Barça really has figured out how to make a billion dollars in stadium costs pencil out, that would be big news. Any Barcelona fan-owners reading this who can share details from the team’s prospectus or whatever they’re sending out?
- The Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin wrote a whole article called “Did Anaheim get a fair price for the Angel Stadium property?” that relies on a single source to answer the question, and that source is former Oakland A’s owner Lew Wolff, who has been acting as a consultant to Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno on this deal. Don’t bother reading it, as you can almost certainly guess what he says — in fact, let’s see who in the comments can come closest to guessing Wolff’s exact words without reading them! Winner gets the people’s ovation and fame forever, and maybe an extra magnet.
- Virginia is approving multiple sports betting permits, maybe with an eye to helping lure the Washington Football Team to the state; meanwhile, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said yesterday, “We don’t want to lose the team out of the state and we’re going to fight hard to make sure that we keep them here.” It really is so much easier to get a good bidding war going when you have multiple jurisdictions in your metro area; James Madison really should have thought of that before pursuing that whole “not in any state” thing.
- The Phoenix Suns‘ $168 million in publicly funded arena renovations won’t just include new furniture and a big-ass kitchen, but also 15,000 new seats, each with their own cupholders, because if there’s one thing Americans want from their tax dollars, it’s cupholders.
- Three of six mayoral candidates in Saskatoon say their city needs a new arena, and one mayoral candidate in Regina says his city needs a new arena, because blah blah economic impact something something.
- Sure, I savaged the NFL’s coronavirus response this week, but it’s worth noting that European soccer is doing a pretty lousy job lately as well.
- A guy with a podcast claims that “a source” told him that the city of Tampa will soon announce “a massive state of the art stadium that will have a retractable roof” for the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees‘ spring training, and wants you to tune in to his podcast for details. You should neither do that nor even click the above links, needless to say, but if there’s anything to this rumor once his podcast drops, I promise you’ll be the first to know.