Friday roundup: Cincy stadiums still gobbling tax money, XFL to use old Rangers stadium, Crew stadium to require $50m+ in public cash

So very very much more stadium and arena news from this week:

Portland MLB boosters have no team or stadium funds, but they do have ballpark drawings with an outfield tram, so there

In the world of vaportecture, renderings for a proposed stadium for a proposed expansion team for an expansion that isn’t even happening yet are the vaporiest tecture of all. So it’s perhaps not surprising that the Portland Diamond Project — the group that wants to bring MLB to Portland, Oregon, if MLB ever gets around to expanding — accompanied the announcement of its purchase agreement for Port of Portland land along the Willamette River with a bunch of images that are attention-grabbing to say the least:

Yes, that is a stadium with a gondola running right up into the right-field corner. Why? Why not! Kids love the gondolas! Look, here are some young adults — who given how long it’ll take to get this thing built if it ever is, are probably about eight years old right now — taking selfies on the gondola platform. That’s totally a thing that Kids Today of the future will do!

But more important, what’s up with that double-decker transparent roof that covers maybe 10% of the seating from the rain, but not the sun, even though baseball is a sport that stops play during rain but not during sun? Here’s another angle:

Okay, so you can have shade at the Portland ballgame, but only if you sit at one of the center-field umbrella-tables by the bicycle racks. Everybody loves maneuvering past people eating brunch while ignoring a nearby baseball game in order to park their bikes!

Finally, here’s another angle of the roof, in which it appears to have been designed for an entirely different rendering:

The sun reflecting off the roof is a nice touch, though — lens flare, everybody take a drink! — even if given the positioning of the stadium this means that the sun is actually in the north.

Still to be determined, according to the Oregonian’s report: “the terms of the agreement between the Portland of Portland [sic — outsourcing its copy editing to people who live in another state is clearly working out great for the Oregonian] and the Portland Diamond Project for the property, what stadium backers would pay to use Terminal 2 and who’s agreed to foot the multibillion-dollar costs of building a stadium and bringing a team to Portland.” So maybe planning for this stadium to become a reality the minute the earth spins off its axis is a fair assessment.

Friday roundup: Skip right past the first four items and go directly to the hidden-camera video on the Austin soccer-vs.-soccer beef, you know you wanna

This was feeling like a long week even before Americans with guns decided to make a late rush to break last year’s record for most people killed in major mass shootings. Fortunately, we have news in the field of whether to devote scarce public resources to boosting the profits of professional sports team owners to amuse us! Ha ha! Are we amused yet?

  • Los Angeles has been selected as the host of next year’s inaugural World Urban Games, a thing that is like the Olympics only it involves sports no one cares about, like three-on-three basketball. (Though admittedly, the Olympics also involves plenty of sports no one cares about.) L.A. had to offer no actual money to be the host, just use of its sports venues, so if anyone actually travels to L.A. to see these things, there’s an actual chance this might work out to the city’s economic benefit! Crazy talk!
  • The group that wants to bring an MLB team to Portland has pulled its offer to buy the city’s school headquarters to build a stadium on the site, saying it would be better used for affordable housing. (Read: The community hated the stadium idea, and they didn’t want to fight about it.) The group will reportedly announce a new site by the end of the month, but it’s not worth holding your breath over because MLB isn’t giving Portland a team in the immediate future, if ever.
  • Saskatoon city officials are looking into building a new downtown arena for about $175 million because … they didn’t actually say why. The old one is old? Mark Rosentraub sold them on a new one? Not that a new downtown Saskatoon arena is necessarily a terrible idea, especially if the city can collect rent and other revenues from it, but an even less terrible idea would be focusing on “Do we need a new arena?” before jumping straight to “How can we build one?”
  • There’s a new pro-ticket tax group in Columbus calling itself Protect Art 4 Columbus that describes itself as “a group of art enthusiasts, sports fans and other community members,” and if this isn’t an Astroturf group, they really needed to come up with a name that made themselves sound less like one.
  • I do not have the energy to explain the beef between the wannabe Austin MLS team owner and the wannabe Austin USL team owner and how they’re both building stadiums and supporters of one stadium are accusing supporters of another stadium of lying about their ballot petitions by saying “we’re trying to build a soccer stadium” when it’s really to stop the other guys from building a soccer stadium, so just watch the video, it’s blurry and confusing and shot in portrait mode, just like the kids today all like!

Don’t hold your breath waiting for MLB’s 20-year expansion drought to end anytime soon

In the midst of yesterday’s Election Day excitement, Deadspin ran my latest article for them, on what’s up with MLB’s much-rumored expansion plans. And though, as I tried to make clear in the article, where baseball expands and when will likely have less to do with what cities are “deserving” and more to do with the sport’s internal finances — in particular how much of an expansion fee they can demand, how adding new small-market teams will affect revenue sharing, and how adding new teams would affect existing team owners’ leverage to extract stadium subsidies — the comments section quickly filled up with debates over which cities should get new teams, and even how MLB divisions should be realigned once this happens.

All of which is still way more constructive and less pathetic than the Cincinnati Enquirer’s response to a throwaway line of mine about how small cities like Cincinnati probably wouldn’t be at the top of the expansion list if they didn’t already have teams:

As FoS correspondent David Dyte immediately pointed out, good thing I didn’t insult their chili.

Friday roundup: Rays set stadium deadlinish thing, D.C. United can’t find the sun in the sky, Inglewood mayor flees lawsuit filing on Clippers arena

Farewell, Koko and Argentina:

Russell Wilson gets in helicopter with wannabe Portland MLB owner, struggling newspaper devotes precious staff time to covering it

I’m not honestly sure exactly what has sparked this sudden flurry of interest in applying for MLB expansion franchises that MLB isn’t even offering yet — I guess MLB commissioner Rob Manfred keeps vaguely talking about how expansion would be nice, but that seems a bit much to be basing entire development plans around — but if you want a summary of where the madness is leading in a nutshell, you could do worse than this photo caption from the Oregonian:

Russell Wilson and Ciara take a selfie Saturday after holding a news conference in Northwest Portland to discuss their investments into the Portland Diamond Project’s effort to land a Major League Baseball team.

Yes, this is where journalism is right now: The quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks and the singer of “Goodies” took a helicopter tour of potential stadium sites with potential MLB owner Craig Cheek, were “whisked in a Mercedes SUV to Saturday’s news conference” (per the Oregonian), then posed for some photos in front of an “MLB PDX” backdrop. And then some poor college football writer who is one of the few people left in the newsroom had to write the whole thing up for the Oregonian, probably with occasional breaks to check Indeed.com for alternative career opportunities.

If you were hoping for any word on what an actual Portland baseball plan would look like, or what MLB would demand for an expansion franchise (either in terms of a franchise fee or stadium amenities or whatever), or really any details at all, needless to say this was not the article for you. Art Thiel at SportspressNW made a slightly better attempt, but even he was forced to rely on speculation and a few hints dropped by Manfred over the years, because really there is no solid information at this point at all. When a news vacuum exists, it will apparently now be filled with selfies, which is as good an epitaph for our age as any.

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:

Friday roundup: Graceland seeks arena money, Marlins and Cards seek spring-training stadium money, guy in Raleigh seeks MLS stadium money

In no particular order, or as we call it in New York, Mets style:

Wannabe Portland MLB owners offer market-ish value to city for proposed stadium land

The investors seeking an MLB franchise for Portland, Oregon say they won’t seek additional public subsidies beyond a $150 million kickback of team income taxes that was already approved, and now they’ve offered to pay market value, kind of, for a school headquarters building that they want to make the site of a new stadium:

The Multnomah County assessor’s office estimates the school district headquarters has a market value of $105 million…

Trammell Crow, acting on behalf of the baseball group, said it would pay the school district at least $80 million — and even more if an appraisal finds its market value to be higher than $80 million.

That’s not bad! Though the school district may not want to sell even at that price, since right now its headquarters is centrally located, and the baseball group is offering to move it to a site way on the eastern edge of the city.

At least this rules out (for now) a major land subsidy as has become common among team owners promising “no public funds for construction.” The bigger question remains that $150 million state kickback of income taxes paid by team employees, which 1) was only projected to raise about half that much money when it was first proposed 15 years ago, though average MLB salaries have almost doubled since then; and 2) wouldn’t actually be all new money, as some of it would be drawn from income earned on spending that would otherwise go to other local entertainment options in the absence of a baseball team. (Some of it would be drawn from income on things like national TV rights, which would indeed be gravy.)

Still, that’s not a terrible deal for the public, all things considered. Assuming all things are being considered, anyway — Portland Diamond Project hasn’t revealed how much it would spend on a stadium, how it would pay for it, where it would get a team, or even who its owners are, though it’s been revealed that former Nike VP Craig Cheek is one of them. Score this one for now as “reply hazy, ask again later.”

Friday roundup: Spending on training facilities is a bad idea, Portland seeks MLB team, Jays game postponed after roof hit by falling ice

I can’t believe none of you wrote in to ask why I hadn’t reported on a Toronto Blue Jays game getting postponed due to falling ice puncturing a hole in the stadium roof, but I guess you’re all acclimated to waiting for the Friday roundup now for that sort of thing. But wait no longer! (Well, wait a few bullet points for that one in particular.)