Field of Schemes
sports stadium news and analysis


This is an archived version of a Field of Schemes article. Comments on this page are closed. To find the current version of the article with updated comments, click here.

February 24, 2006


Spring is in the air, and the thoughts of sports commissioners has turned to shaking down state and local governments for arena boodle:

  • NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly (no, not that one) warned the city of Pittsburgh last week that "the time window for the Penguins to get financing on a new arena is short. I believe the city of Pittsburgh deserves to have the Penguins, but the Penguins also need a new building and they've needed a new one for years. ... It needs to resolve itself in the next couple of months, otherwise they're going to have to look at options."
  • NBA commissioner David Stern warned the state of Washington yesterday: "Substantial amount of work has been done on the baseball and football fields and I'm here to personally find out whether the same is being considered fairly for the NBA. If not, that's a decision that we can accept, but that we'll have to act on." Just in case anyone didn't get the message, Seattle Sonics (and Starbucks) owner Howard Schultz added: "We want to stay in Seattle. We would think it would be tragic if we had to leave."

The threats were flying so fast and furious that Portland Trail Blazers owner (and Microsoft co-founder) Paul Allen jumped in with a demand for public subsidies of his own, saying accrued debts on the Rose Garden have left his team unable to turn a profit. On the subject of handing over public money to the world's 7th richest man so he can make more profits, Gov. Ted Kulongoski's chief of staff Pat Egan replied: "I don't know what would leave [Allen with] the impression there is an opportunity for broad-scale public financing." Let's see, could it be ... the fact that he just got $300 million worth of it from the state next door?


Amazing game of merry-go-round. I suspect the main "move target" for both of these teams is the new Sprint Center in Kansas City. Which ironically is being faced with various stadium related threats from all three of its current major league teams from relocation next year (MLS Wizards) to relocation in the near future (MLB Royals) to "No SuperBowl" and a threat to relocate after Lamar dies (NFL Chiefs).

Posted by Andy Mead on February 24, 2006 11:58 AM

That Starbucks business venture must be in the tanker for Howie not to be able to fund rennovations to the Seattle arena.

Posted by Bertell Ollman on February 24, 2006 02:37 PM

Posturing. I cannot speak for the Sonics, but the Blazers are locked in tight to the city of Portland and the Rose Garden for 19 more seasons. It is pretty iron-clad.

Even though the Blazers organization is bleeding (which is Allen's own fault), moving them would be more expensive than staying.

I doubt Seattle (3.8 million), or Portland (2.5 million) are in jeopardy of moving to a smaller already sports saturated market such as KC.

Look for Mr. Allen to sell the Blazers.

Posted by Matt Kelly on February 24, 2006 03:55 PM

The Toyota Center in Houston, TX will be the prefect home for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Posted by Daniel on February 24, 2006 04:18 PM

For months of wondering what Allen/Patterson/Nash were doing by not making the Portland Trailblazers competitive came to light. I myself wondered aloud if Allen was positioning himself to sell the team by attempting to get rid of the long-term contracts and not bringing in ANYONE of substance. As a fan I am dissapointed, but I understand the business side and accept that the Blazers have not been profitable.... which means that a new sheriff needs to come into town, take over the Blazers and return that franchise to its glory days in the 70's. Rip City!!!!

Posted by rw on February 24, 2006 04:37 PM

Latest News Items