Friday roundup: A’s won’t give up on Laney, Isles could play “some” games at Coliseum, more!

Tons of stray news items this week, so let’s get right to them:

  • The Rhode Island state senate’s finance committee approved $44 million in spending by the state and city of Pawtucket for a new Pawtucket Red Sox stadium, which is what everyone expected, because the real opposition is in the state house. A spokesperson for House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said that if the bill passes the Senate, “it will be assigned to the House Finance Committee and be given a public hearing,” which isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement, but then, Mattiello has been saying consistently that his constituents hate this plan.
  • Oakland A’s president Dave Kaval said that the team owners have “identified three final locations” for a new stadium, and … they’re the same three sites the team announced more than a year ago, even after Laney College officials since took themselves out of the running. “We spent a lot of time getting it to three final sites, and those are the sites that are viable,” Kaval told reporters. Props for sticking to your convictions, I guess, but there’s a time to go to a Plan B, and it’s maybe after Plan A told you, “Get offa our lawn.”
  • The city of Liverpool is set to spend £280 million on a new stadium for Everton F.C., four years after saying no to a similar plan, but Mayor Joe Anderson defends the plan as a loan that the team will repay and more. The Guardian reports that “the city council could make £7m-a-year profit from interest charged on a loan of £280m over 25 years, plus extra revenue from business rates and related developments once the stadium is up and running” — which sounds good if the profit is guaranteed just from the loan payments (the city would reportedly have first dibs on Everton team revenue), not so much if it would rely on those “related developments,” which could be stuff that would happen with or without a new stadium. As is so often the case, it all comes down to what that comma means.
  • NHL commissioner Gary Bettman toured Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday, after which New York Islanders owner Jon Ledecky said he was “confident” that “some games” would be played there while waiting for a new Belmont Park arena to be built, but that playing full seasons there would be “difficult.” So that would imply … some games in Nassau and some in Brooklyn, since the two arenas have the same owner? Some in Nassau and some at Madison Square Garden, which is set to help build the new arena? Some in Nassau and some on a frozen-over East River after that ice age that the American Museum of Natural History seems to think is imminent hits? Your guess is as good as mine.
  • A Unitarian minister writes in an op-ed for the Charlotte Observer that if the Charlotte city council is going to spend money on a new Carolina Panthers stadium, it should be required to build affordable housing, too. My theology is shaky at best, so I’m not sure what Unitarianism has to say about a right canceling out a wrong.
  • Speaking of North Carolina, the Hurricanes got a new owner this week, and in his first few hours as head of the team, he didn’t demand a new arena or threaten to move the team without one. Though that may have more to do with the team’s sweetheart lease on its current arena that last through 2024, which had led former owner Peter Karmanos to say in 2015 that “we’d have to be idiots to move from here,” so give the new guy a few more hours, at least.
  • This. You’re welcome.

Hurricanes, NC State in throwdown over arena dates

There’s a battle brewing in Raliegh, N.C., over the use of PNC Arena by the Carolina Hurricanes and North Carolina State, and some of the accusations are getting pretty ugly. Selfish university officials leaving the Hurricanes open to threats of NHL fines! Team officials going behind the school’s back to press the ACC for schedule changes!

The issue here is that even though the Hurricanes’ parent company manages the arena, the team agreed to a lease upon moving from Hartford that gave it third priority over arena dates behind N.C. State basketball and football (the football team uses the parking lots for its games at neighboring Carter-Finley Stadium). For some reason, this is suddenly causing problems, with the Hurricanes management charging that N.C. State is holding an excessive number of dates for its own usage (129 out of 214 dates, including 26 out of 30 days in November, according to Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford), leaving the team open to league fines of $100,000 if they have to make a late schedule adjustment. N.C. State counters that it’s only holding 65 dates open, and that it can’t do better than that since the ACC’s conference schedule isn’t released until late summer. And N.C. State chancellor Randy Woodson made his own charges, saying that he only recently discovered that the Hurricanes had been directly lobbying the ACC to shift his school’s schedule in order to leave open dates for NHL games.

Why this is suddenly coming up now, 14 years after the Hurricanes moved in, is a bit of a mystery. It’s also not clear what the Hurricanes expect to get out of this, since they agreed to be second fiddle when they signed the lease in the first place (paying only $60 million out of the arena’s $158 million construction cost). Their lease runs through 2024, so it’s a bit early to be making noise about wanting revisions or to get out of it … though on second thought, maybe not. And while this guy is no longer mayor, clearly it’s never too early to start talking about replacing a slightly-used arena.

Raleigh mayor wants to replace 10-year-old arena

Dog-bites-man story of the week: An online poll (in other words, not worth the electrons it’s printed on) of Raleigh residents shows they’re overwhelmingly opposed to Mayor Charles Meeker’s proposal to replace the Carolina Hurricanes‘ RBC Center, which only just opened ten years ago. Nearly 70% of those voting said they were opposed to building a new downtown arena, while 28% were in favor; 2% for some reason chose to take the poll despite not having an opinion.

To be fair, Meeker doesn’t want to replace the RBC Center until 2019, at which point it will be a mind-numbing 20 years old. At this rate, sports stadiums and arenas are going to have a shorter expected lifespan than cats.