This week’s recommended reading: Girl to City, Amy Rigby’s just-published memoir of the two decades that took her from newly arrived art student in 1970s New York to divorced single mom and creator of the acclaimed debut album Diary of a Mod Housewife. (Disclosure, I guess: I edited an early version of one chapter for the Village Voice last year.) I picked up my copy last week at the launch of Rigby’s fall book tour, and whether you love her music or her long-running blog (guilty as charged on both counts) or enjoy tales of CBGB-era proto-gentrifying New York or coming-of-age-stories about women balancing self-doubt and determination or just a perfectly turned punchline, I highly recommend it: Like her best songs, it made me laugh and cry and think, often at the same time, and that’s all I can ask for in great art.
But first, read this news roundup post, because man, is there a lot of news to be rounded up:
Three days after evicting the indie minor-league baseball Kansas City T-Bones from their stadium for nonpayment of rent, the city of Kansas City, Kansas welcomed new owners of the team with a new lease that will provide $1 million in tax money to help pay for $1.5 million in stadium upgrades. If this doesn’t quite feel like tough negotiating to you, does it make you feel better that the new team president is promising to bring shuffleboard, pickleball, sand volleyball, and bocce ball to the stadium as well? Can anyone truly put a price on getting to watch professional (?) pickleball?
Most of the $30 million the Los Angeles Angels have spent on stadium “maintenance” over the last seven years actually went to building a new scoreboard, which has sports economist Roger Noll worried that the team is skimping on actual upkeep of the building as it negotiates a new lease. Also, the long-hidden appraisal of the Angel Stadium parking lots that team owner Arte Moreno wants development rights to has reportedly been leaked, but not to anyone who’s actually made it public, which isn’t really my idea of what “leaked” means.
Still nobody is quite sure how much money St. Louis taxpayers will have to put up for a new MLS stadium, or for cost overruns that the city has promised to cover, or even where the stadium will be built. These are maybe things St. Louis might have wanted to work out before approving the funding plan, but it did land the city an MLS expansion franchise, and not everybody gets those. Not quite yet, anyway.
Were you wanting an article whose headline reports that “new stadium buzzing is getting louder” for the Tampa Bay Rays when the only actual news in it is about a Rays stadium lobbying group shutting down? Florida Politics has got you covered!
With the Oakland A’s looking at building a waterfront stadium because fans dig waterfront stadiums, the Washington Post has investigated whether it’s really such a good idea to be building waterfront stadiums when sea level is projected to rise by several feet in coming decades thanks to the climate crisis. My favorite bit is where a University of Miami geologist does say that Miami is “not a long-term option” — not Miami’s stadium, mind you, but Miami itself, which should be a sobering notion for anyone concerned about the future, which of course is where we’re going to spend the rest of our lives.
And speaking of Miami, please enjoy this moment in the Miami city commission’s continuing debates over Inter Miami‘s new stadium in which a city commissioner said to Miami’s mayor, “Let me call you Lord Mayor, so you get even happier!” I’m truly going to miss Florida when it’s gone.
Also, a clause in Nashville’s lease with Nashville S.C. requiring the soon-to-be MLS team to play at least one game in Nashville in any 24-month period has the team’s financiers balking at loaning money for the stadium — presumably because they’re afraid MLS will up and disappear for a couple of seasons, maybe as part of a labor stoppage, who knows — so the city may just delete that clause. Seriously, lord grant me the negotiating powers of a mediocre rich man.
The U.S. Supreme Court has given a final dismissal to a case charging that the car rental tax used by Arizona to fund sports facilities was unconstitutional because the money wasn’t being used for transportation projects.
The city of Santa Clara has voted again to remove the San Francisco 49ers as manager of their stadium, after the first vote might have been illegal because it took place in closed session. Glad we worked that out!
The Hamilton County Commission approved a plan that will involve spending $30 million to relocate a concrete plant so the county can build a music venue next to the Cincinnati Bengals stadium, with the Bengals helping out by forgoing $30 million in future payments from the county, though the team will also now get free parking space on the land. The music venue is reportedly needed because the waterfront is “an area starved for attention outside of Bengals and Reds games,” which maybe is something to keep in mind the next time you hear that a sports stadium will be enough to revitalize an underused area.
In completely unrelated news, here’s an article about a Columbus bar owner who is hoping that the new Crew soccer stadium being built nearby will be a windfall for her business.
Is public financing of sports venues worth it? If you’ve been noticing a bit of a dip in the frequency of posts on this site over the past few months, it’s not your imagination: I had a contract job as a fill-in news editor that was taking up a lot of my otherwise FoS-focused mornings. That job has run its course now, which should make it a bit easier to keep up with stadium and arena news on a daily basis going forward, instead of leaving much of it to week-ending wrapups.
That said, you all do seem to love your week-ending wrapups, so here’s one now:
Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Joe Musgrove says of poor attendance this season, “With the price of tickets now, I don’t know if I’d pay that much to watch a team that played like we did this year,” which is a pretty excellent summation of the conclusions that I and Rob Arthur came up with for MLB’s attendance drop.
San Jose Sharks vice president Doug Bentz says of trying to keep attendance numbers up, “Our biggest competitor is Netflix.” Aw, does Bentz actually think that the younger generation is still spending its leisure time watching TV and not TikTok videos? That’s so adorable.
Pawtucket is considering bringing in a Single-A or independent league baseball team next year to replace the departing Pawtucket Red Sox, and studying “how much it would cost to remodel McCoy should a new team utilize the stadium.” I guess it can’t hurt to do a cost-benefit analysis of baseball vs. no baseball, but still I would say maybe check whether one of these lower-level leagues would even demand a remodeling before rushing out to price new furniture.
The Buffalo News still won’t let go of its dream for a new Bills stadium, and sent one of its reporters to Boston to look at supermarkets and “an inflatable Stay Puft Marshmallow Man” to show what the future may hold.