Happy first Friday roundup of 2019! I could add a whole lot of thoughts on lists I’ve read and haven’t made of the best of this and that of last year, but to save time let me just stick with saying that this song is pretty damn excellent and get right to the news of the short week:
- Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post wrote a column about how Washington NFL team owner Daniel Snyder is a bad person and a terrible owner and should never get a dime of public stadium money because that’d be “a bailout, welfare,” none of which I can disagree with, but at the same time I’m a bit uncomfortable with the implication that if Snyder were less unpleasant, he’d then be deserving of public largesse.
- The XFL may still be considered a bit of a joke league, but at least it can pay the city of St. Louis a decent stadium rent, unlike the Rams ever did. (Of course, the “joke league” bit is exactly why they are being required to pay real rent whereas the Rams could refuse to; there’s not much advantage to being an 80-pound gorilla.)
- This essay responding to Amazon’s tax breaks is pretty excellent, though it’s still a half-notch below this classic Tom the Dancing Bug cartoon.
- An opposing team manager has demanded that Tottenham Hotspur be required to play the rest of their season at Wembley rather than moving into their much-delayed stadium, because … teams that got to play them while they were adjusting to their new grounds would have an advantage somehow? From what I’ve been able to tell, most of home-field advantage in soccer comes from home fans booing (or whistling) at refs to intimidate them into making calls that go their team’s way, but the last time I tried reading the literature on this it quickly went deep into the weeds, so I won’t belabor the point.
- “Fans at Talking Stick Resort Arena” were “surprisingly” in favor of spending public money to renovate the Phoenix Suns arena, according to Fox10 Phoenix, compared to “the online response” which was more “mixed.” This is both an impressively off-label use of “surprisingly” and an impressively lazy attempt at polling Phoenix residents — two impressively lazy attempts, even — so fine job, Fox10 Phoenix!
So very very much more stadium and arena news from this week:
- There’s a little money left over in Hamilton County’s sales-tax pool after paying off bonds on the Cincinnati Reds and Bengals stadiums, so county property owners will get an $8 million property tax reduction this year. That’s a mere fraction of what county officials promised when they passed the sales-tax hike 20 years ago, but at least this year they won’t have to sell any hospitals.
- The XFL says it will restart play in 2020 with teams in eight cities, but the only interesting one (unless you’re a devotee of spring football, in which case more power to you) is Dallas, where the football team will apparently play in the Texas Rangers‘ old stadium, which will remain standing right next to the Texas Rangers’ new stadium, as well as the Dallas Cowboys‘ stadium. (Apparently football fans don’t care about air conditioning.)
- Franklin County, Ohio, says it plans to build a new Columbus Crew arena … somewhere, costing … something, with the county putting up $50 million in cash — part of which would go toward turning the old Crew stadium into a “public sports complex” — plus land and infrastructure worth … something. But Franklin County commissioner Marilyn Brown told the Columbus Dispatch that “it will have mixed-use included, so it’s an economic-development deal that will include apartments, retail along with it. So it will have enormous economic-development benefit,” so it’s all good, because who can put a price tag on enormous?
- NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says he’s “disappointed” that Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk is backing out of a downtown arena deal, and offered to provide league help in cutting a new deal. Hands up anyone who thinks that means “Leaning on Melnyk to pay for the arena he said he would” and not “Leaning on Ottawa to bail Melnyk out with public dollars”?
- Plans for a Portland baseball stadium surrounded by affordable housing may have hit a snag, as two city commissioners say the land targeted for the stadium isn’t zoned for affordable housing. Or for a stadium, unless it can prove it has enough transportation first. These are the kinds of details you’d normally want to resolve before announcing a stadium plan, but then, so would making sure you’re using Euclidean geometry.