I have nothing introductory to say this week other than that I’m wondering if you kind FoS supporters would give me $2 million in 24 hours if I made more robots out of lacrosse masks. So on to the news:
- Here’s a long article about the opening of Veterans Stadium 50 years ago that has some interesting bits about all the other stadium proposals for the Philadelphia Phillies and Eagles that were considered and rejected, but mostly is instructive for referring to the Vet as “a cathedral” and “a marvel” rather than how it was mostly described when it was being torn down, which was along the lines of “a dump.” It’s funny how things go from wonderful to outmoded to nostalgic, based mostly on who can make money off of getting them built and/or getting them replaced.
- Honolulu’s replacement for the genuinely-falling-down Aloha Stadium is set to cost $350 million, and the state legislature has quietly switched its financing plan from a roughly 50-50 split of revenue bonds (those paid back with stadium revenues) and general obligation bonds (those paid back out of the state’s general fund) to all general obligation bonds. This could be because revenue bonds are a tougher sell during a pandemic when no revenue is coming in, or it could be because revenue bonds are a tough sell regardless when the only revenue will be from college football games; either way, my question stands about whether maybe if you can’t afford a $350 million college football stadium, you just don’t build a $350 million college football stadium.
- Aaron Gordon makes an excellent point about the current debates over the federal infrastructure bill that the question should be less what counts as “infrastructure” and more what creates a good public-benefits bang for public bucks. For example: “Should we be spending $174 billion in electric vehicle incentives — a subsidy for massively profitable automakers and upper-middle class Americans — when a fraction of that could provide frequent, reliable bus service to the majority of Americans instead?” Nobody’s proposed any of the new federal infrastructure money going to stadiums just yet that I’ve seen, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before someone tries to build a gondola with it, at which point I sincerely hope the decision is based less on whether gondolas are infrastructure than on whether gondolas are stupid infrastructure.
- San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s plan to tear down his city’s old arena and build a new arena with money from mumble mumble hey look over there has hit a snag in the form of our old friend the California Surplus Land Act, which you will remember from such past hits as “Can Inglewood provide land for a new Los Angeles Clippers arena without offering it up to affordable-housing developers first?” The Surplus Land Act got tightened with new guidelines in late 2019, so turns out the city may have to reopen bidding on the arena site, though San Diego COO Jay Goldstone (cities have COOs now?) told the Union-Tribune “there is no intention to issue a new request for proposals at this time.” Tune back in for further updates once the lawyers are done.
- The planned $450 million renovation of the Superdome for the New Orleans Saints has been stalled and may be scaled back as a result of 1) the pandemic, which is making investing in such things as expanded clubs and suites look like not so great an idea, and 2) state legislators who are questioning the state’s $90 million (with another $210 million coming from the state stadium district, which is also run and funded by the state) as too expensive because “they’re the New Orleans Saints, not the Louisiana Saints.” (Okay…) The good news, reports WBRZ: “the latest federal coronavirus aid package has dollars for which the [stadium] district could be eligible.” Aaron, you listening to this?
- Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno still hasn’t decided whether to build a new stadium or renovate the old one on the 153 acres of land worth $500 million that Anaheim gifted him with for only $150 million last year, but he has released some images of colored blobs of whether things might go, or not.
- If you were wondering whether former NBA player Jackie Robinson’s plan for a $2.7 billion arena/hotel/conference center/bowling alley/wedding chapel in Las Vegas is still in the works, a year after he initially said it would be completed, and with still no sports team to play in the arena because Vegas is already swimming in arenas, the answer is of course it is.
- And finally, if you thought the Dollar Loan Center Center was hilarious, you’ll love Inter Miami‘s renaming of its temporary (they swear) stadium to “AutoNation’s DRV PNK Stadium,” a name that just trips off the tongue. It looks like AutoNation even spells it “drive pink” sometimes, so the bizarre spelling seems especially unnecessary, but if you want to promote your car dealerships by giving money to cancer research and then paying the local soccer team to put your charity’s name on its stadium, you can spell it however you want, because America.