I’ve been busy getting my post-Village Voice life rolling this week — here’s my first article for Gothamist, on how to fight Amazon’s monopoly power, and I’ve also started a Twitter account for following ex-Voice news writers as we keep up our work for other outlets — but Friday mornings are sacred, for they are stadium and arena news roundup time:
- The Los Angeles Chargers are still doing a great job of selling tickets to opposing fans, with the San Francisco 49ers becoming the latest team this week to play a road game that felt more like a home game. “They can’t fill an MLS stadium with their own fans in Year 2 — how are they supposed to fill a 70,000-plus-seat stadium in a couple years?” remarks USA Today’s Andrew Joseph. “The move from San Diego looks worse and worse by the week.” But the team’s relocation decision was made for such well-considered reasons!
- Universities are spending a whole lot of money on college football stadiums, and here’s a list of the spendiest ones.
- Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was asked about building a stadium for the Buffalo Bills, and said it would cost about $1 billion, which is too expensive for either the team’s owners or the county to front. This should be obvious to anyone who reads the news, but I guess in a world where many elected officials pretend that stadium money can be spontaneously generated from rotting meat, it’s worth a reminder.
- The nonprofit that owns the Green Bay Packers is looking to get into real-estate development near Lambeau Field, something that a local real estate attorney says is part of a trend for needing to make “a destination out of the facilities” to keep people from sitting at home and watching on TV. (Bloomberg also reports that the Packers are envisioning for-sale apartments as being marketed as “second homes for Packers fans across the country,” which is either fabulously optimistic or a sign that capitalism has gone very, very wrong.) I’d say it’s more that real-estate development can be extremely lucrative, especially when your ownership of a sports team gives you a leg up on getting access to cheap land, but the “more people are sitting at home watching on TV” thing is definitely a thing — though increasingly more people are sitting at home looking at YouTube on their phones, which could present an even bigger challenge to sports marketers.
- The new arena of the Detroit Pistons and Red Wings will no longer issue or accept printed tickets, meaning you’d better have a smartphone and keep it charged when heading to a game. I guess this saves some trees, but it probably also makes it easier for the teams to track ticketholders’ data, which is what it’s all about these days.
- I missed it a couple of weeks ago, but the Texas Rangers have released a seating cross-section for their new stadium, and it’s somewhat misleading — as you can see, they make the new design look a bit better by moving the front row of seats closer to home plate, which doesn’t necessarily help depending on what the rest of the stadium geometry is like — but also somewhat instructive, in that the team is definitely moving the upper deck closer to the field by having it overhang the middle and lower sections more, which is a promising development. Not that this necessarily means Globe Life Field will have great cheap seats — Globe Life Park, its predecessor, has an insanely distant upper deck, at least from what I’ve been able to determine from watching games on TV — but at least it’s a move in the right direction. Of course, this is only a cross-section at one point in the stands — we still don’t know what’ll be up with the seating sections suspended in midair.
- John Romano of the Tampa Bay Times got out his calculator and realized that even if Tampa’s tax-district-surcharge stadium-funding plan for the Rays somehow works, the stadium will probably have about a $300 million funding hole, which is a lot. “So is the stadium in trouble?” writes Romano. “It sure seems that way. And I don’t see a simple way out.” Which isn’t news, but given that Romano has tended to be fairly sympathetic to Rays ownership’s stadium demands over the years, it’s notable that even he’s pointing out the Rays stadium’s new clothes.
- The Oakland Raiders definitely won’t be playing in Las Vegas’s Sam Boyd Stadium temporarily next year, and they probably won’t be playing in the Bay Area either, so that leaves maybe San Diego or San Antonio or who the hell knows. Road team! Road team!