Even after dispensing with that crazy San Jose Sharks move threat story, there’s a ton of leftover news this week. So put down that amazing Defector article about how the British have fetishized the Magna Carta as a declaration of citizen rights when it’s really just about how the king can’t unreasonably tax 25 barons, and let’s get right to it:
- The Charlotte city council approved $25 million for Carolina Panthers stadium renovations to accommodate a soccer team and $10 million for a new Charlotte F.C. headquarters and training facility and also $27-29 million to redevelop a mall site next to the soccer HQ, plus there’s still another $20-22 million from Mecklenburg County for the project still to be approved. All this will undoubtedly keep Panthers owner David Tepper from demanding an even newer stadium for the Panthers, ha ha ha, just pulling your leg, of course it won’t.
- Hartford is taking advantage of its arena being closed by the pandemic to move ahead with $65 million in renovations, which is good, unless you think a pandemic economy is a terrible time to be devoting public funds to arena upgrades, in which case it’s not.
- The New York Yankees may have cut ties with two longtime minor-league affiliates, but the Mets gave a reprieve to the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, who were expected to be eliminated but instead will remain the team’s Double-A affiliate. Binghamton Mayor Rich David celebrated this announcement by patting himself on the back for getting the team stadium subsidies to keep them happy, which is surely going to become a bulletin-board quote for many a minor-league baseball team owner in the coming months and years.
- Speaking of which, I have received confirmation from the New York City Economic Development Corporation that it had agreed to provide $5.1 million in combined city and state funds to upgrades for the Staten Island Yankees stadium to replace the turf and seating and alter the dimensions to allow for other pro sports, just before the Yankees ditched its Staten Island affiliate. An EDC spokesperson says the agency is still “focused on upgrading the Richmond County Ballpark and bringing additional forms of live entertainment to the facility,” which presumably means they’re still planning on throwing $5.1 million at the stadium even though the baseball team that plays there may no longer exist.
- The owners of the Ottawa Redblacks football team and Ottawa 67s junior hockey team say they’re losing $40 million this year thanks to Covid and want to use $4.7 million from a stadium maintenance reserve fund to help defray their losses, plus get a ten-year lease extension and push back the date when the city will get a cut of retail revenues at the site. “It’s an insult to the citizens of Ottawa to use COVID relief as a cover … to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse,” testified “former public service executive” Nancy Lawand, who I’m not sure is using that idiom entirely correctly, though maybe it sounded better in the original Canadian.
- The NBA is now joining the NFL in conducting a giant experiment to see how many fans they can pack in before people start getting sick. This is maybe not quite as bad an idea as indoor dining or gyms or Thanksgiving, but it’s not a great one, either.
- President-elect Joe Biden has a lot on his plate, but maybe he could start with eliminating those Opportunity Zones that are giving extra tax breaks to sports stadiums and super-yacht marinas, suggests Pat Garofalo.
- Please everyone shut up about the Dodger Stadium gondola, Alissa Walker has thoroughly debunked it, okay?
- A lawsuit to reclaim the diversion of Michigan property tax money from schools to the Detroit Red Wings arena project has been thrown out because the plaintiffs didn’t show how they were specifically harmed by it, which is what state law requires. Since that article is paywalled, I tried to find out more about the suit elsewhere, but ended up down a rabbit hole of stories about how someone didn’t actually sue Red Bull for false advertising because the drink didn’t actually give him wings, so you’re on your own on this one.