It’s been a long year of waiting, but the moment we’ve been looking ahead to is finally within sight, and only one thing seems to be on everyone’s minds: What songs are we going to request that Yo La Tengo perform for pledges tomorrow afternoon on the WFMU fundraising marathon? I already requested “Better Things” the year after Hurricane Sandy, but I’m hoping I can find something equally appropriate for 2021.
Here’s some stadium and arena news to tide you over while you wait:
- Economic impact studies of sports venues are usually pretty terrible, given that they generally start out by measuring “impact” (i.e., all money spent in or around a stadium or arena whether it benefits anyone but the team owner) and ignore spending that’s just shifted from one part of town to another, and so on. But the projection that a new $228 million arena in Augusta will generate more than $600 million in economic impact by adding up “$436 million in new spending” plus “$208 million in new sales taxes” breaks new ground in bonkers: Doesn’t the Augusta Downtown Development Authority know that sales taxes are already part of “spending”? Plus, is the sales tax rate in Augusta really 48%? The full “market analysis” is here, but it doesn’t provide details on its methodology and the $208 million sales-tax figure doesn’t seem to appear anywhere in it, so we’ll just have to trust that the Augusta Chronicle’s fact-checking department was on the job and, oh dear. Maybe the “applause editor” does some fact-checking in her spare time?
- Also in economic-impact-study news, various studies have projected anywhere from $200 million to $600 million in impact from a new arena in Palm Desert, but Mayor Kathleen Kelly says, “Sports arenas are pretty notorious for over-promising and under-delivering positive economic impacts for the surrounding community. So, I do have to look at the proposal with some skepticism.” She adds an arena could draw off spending from area restaurants to arena concessions, and take up hotel rooms that otherwise could be occupied by longer-term visitors — hey, somebody’s been reading this site, or maybe just the mountains of data showing that arenas haven’t had a large measurable impact in the past! Warms my heart, it does.
- The Florida House Ways & Means Committee voted 16-1 yesterday to repeal the state’s program that allows sports team owners to request up to $2 million a year apiece in sales-tax money to repay their private stadium and arena construction or renovation costs, and, yes, this was just proposed a couple of years ago, but maybe one of these days it’ll actually pass. Especially given that it’s a program that has allowed team owners to demand public money for venues they’ve already built, making the economic impact of the subsidies an easy-to-calculate zero.
- Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena is gone, but you can still park in its parking garage, which is about to become “much more than just a place to park in the morning” as it is converted to a “mobility hub” that is … a place to park in the morning and buy coffee. It’s all privately funded, at least, so far.
- If you want to read an article about sad Sacramento soccer boosters appealing for a billionaire to come and bring $500 million for an expansion fee and a new stadium after the old billionaire backed out, here you go! Features Sacramento mayor and former Kings water-carrier Darrell Steinberg saying of the plan that ended up leaving the city cutting services to pay down arena debt, “We didn’t give up on the Kings and we’re not giving up on Major League Soccer.” Adds Steinberg: “What we need is a plug-and-a-play from an investor to then help us finish the last piece of this.” In related news, I only need $6 billion as the last piece of the puzzle for building my space elevator, please apply within.
- Not to be topped, News 4 Nashville has a “first look inside Nashville’s new soccer stadium,” which is actually someone clicking around on computer renderings of the place, complete with a visible cursor. We had that already back in November, and with creepy shambling Sims!
- And if you want to read an article about Cleveland Cavaliers owner and Quicken Loans magnate Dan Gilbert and his gajillions of dollars in public subsidies that starts out describing how he “was raised by a pair of Century 21 real estate agents” and “went to Michigan State University—where he was arrested for running a sports gambling operation,” Defector has gotcha.