Vegas signs agreement with somebody to propose soccer stadium costing something and paid for somehow

The city of Las Vegas is moving ahead with that MLS stadium plan, approving an “Exclusive Negotiating Agreement” (caps in original) with Renaissance Companies — the press coverage isn’t exactly clear on whether it’s the Arizona construction managers or the California investment advisors or the Chicago housing developers, none of which appear to have experience building stadiums — to come up with a plan to “including specific details of the stadium and costs” in the next six months. So this really is an “okay, show us what you got” agreement, though calling it “exclusive” gives it a bit more official imprimatur, and presumably means the city won’t be doing anything else with the Cashman Field site in the interim.

But even if Renaissance doesn’t yet know how much the stadium would cost or who would pay for it or even which Renaissance they are, they do have renderings! Oh boy, do they have renderings:

Yes, that is indeed a retractable field in the last image, with the pitch sliding out into the open air to reveal … another soccer pitch, this one in the open air of the stadium itself? Though maybe those fine lines running across the top of the stadium represent some kind of super-invisible roof that would protect fans from the heat while allowing in all light except for what grass needs to grow? Or maybe the second field is artificial turf, so the stadium could be used for … not football, that’s what the Las Vegas Raiders stadium is for, but some other sport that needs to be played on artificial turf, like, okay, I’m not thinking of any, but maybe they’re planning to invent one?

Anyway, there’s lots of fireworks and spotlights and reflected sunlight even if not quite lens flare per se, plus plenty of entourage featuring a whole lot of Rockettes standing around outside the stadium for some reason. Also, it’s not just a stadium, it’s a “sports and innovation district,” and clearly adding “innovation” to your district name isn’t a sign that it’s an empty scam or anything. It’ll clearly be great!

Meanwhile, if you’re wondering why Las Vegas needs a new soccer stadium when it’s already building a new football stadium that could host a soccer team, Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley is wondering that, too! In a just and sane world, one would hope that having two competing soccer plans would enable Vegas officials to cut the best deal for residents and taxpayers, but that is clearly not the universe we live in.

Friday roundup: Clippers broke public meetings law, Vegas seeks MLS team, Buccaneers used bookkeeping tricks to try to get oil-spill money

Any week with a new/old Superchunk album is a good one! Please listen while reading this week’s roundup of leftover stadium and arena news:

  • The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office has determined that Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer violated open meetings laws by hiding information about the team’s proposed new Inglewood arena’s location and scope when formally proposing it in 2017, even replacing the name “Clippers” with “Murphy’s Bowl LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company (Developer).” Unfortunately, the DA’s office noted, it’s too late to do anything about this because the violation wasn’t reported in time, but don’t do it again, I guess? In related news, NBA commissioner Adam Silver says he supports the team’s arena plan, even though Ballmer is being sued by New York Knicks owner James Dolan, who also owns the nearby Forum and doesn’t want the competition, and who was apparently the main reason for all that secrecy on the part of Ballmer. It’s all enough to make you feel sympathetic to Dolan, until you remember that he is an awful person.
  • Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman has announced she’s looking at building an MLS stadium in her city, because “We have not become the pariah anymore, and there is no end to this. It’s so exciting,” which would almost make sense if MLS had previously steered clear of Vegas because of gambling or something and also if MLS were currently about to put a franchise in Vegas, neither of which is the case. The stadium, if it’s ever built, would go on the site of Cashman Field, where the USL Championship Las Vegas Lights FC currently play, and would be paid for by some method that the developers “would have to present” to the city council, according to the mayor’s office. It’s so exciting!
  • The owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tried to get $19.5 million in settlement money from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster on the grounds that the team lost revenue that summer compared to the following summer when it was banking extra NFL checks that the league was stockpiling in advance of a player lockout. Amazingly, that’s not what got the claim rejected — it was only nixed when it turned out the Bucs hadn’t even stockpiled that revenue at the time, but rather did so retroactively on its books when it realized it could use it as a way to try to get oil spill settlement cash. It’s such a fine line between mail fraud and clever.
  • Inter Miami owners David Beckham and Jorge Mas have agreed to pay a youth golf program $3 million to clear out of the way of their proposed Melreese soccer stadium and move, you know, somewhere else, so long as it’s not on their lawn. This is not a ton of money in the grand scheme of things, but it is worth noting that Beckham and Mas are sinking a whole lot of money into this stadium and a temporary stadium until this one is ready and the old new stadium site that they say they’re not building a stadium on anymore; this can either be seen as a laudable commitment to private funding or a dubious business investment or, hell, why not both?
  • The Portland Diamond Project group has gotten a six-month extension on its deadline to decide whether to build a baseball stadium at the Terminal 2 site, and is paying only $225,000, instead of the $500,000 it was originally supposed to be charged. That seems like bad negotiating by the Port of Portland when they had the wannabe team owners over a barrel, but I guess $225,000 just for a six-month option on a site that probably won’t work anyway for a team that probably won’t exist anytime soon is nothing to turn up your nose at.
  • When the headline reads “New A’s stadium could generate up to $7.3 billion, team-funded study predicts,” do I even need to explain that it’s nonsense? If you want a general primer on why “economic impact” numbers don’t mean much of anything, though, I think I addressed that pretty well in this article.
  • The Los Angeles Rams‘ new stadium is reportedly set to get $20 million in naming rights payments for 20 years from a company that lost hundreds of millions of dollars last year, which is surely not going to result in a repeat of the Enron Field fiasco.
  • A reporter at the Boston Bruins‘ 24-year-old home arena was startled by a rat on live TV. Clearly it’s time to tear it down and build a new one.

Friday roundup: More MLS expansion drum beating, more wasteful non-sports subsidies, more bonkers Tottenham stadium delay stories

Getting a late start this morning after being out last night seeing Neko Case, so let’s get to this: