Field of Schemes
sports stadium news and analysis


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May 06, 2006

The week in stadia

No, I'm not planning on doing this every week. Why do you ask?

  • According to a new poll, while 53% of Sacramento area residents are "strongly concerned" that the Kings will leave town within three years, only 27% think the team needs a new arena; and if one is built, 54% of those polled say that no public money should be used. The Kings owners responded in traditional democratic fashion: They hired a high-powered lobbyist.
  • Speaking of lobbying, the AP reports that Minnesota Twins owner Carl Pohlad and his family have given more than a quarter-million dollars over the years to state politicians. Legislators insist they haven't been swayed by the boodle, but state senator John Marty, a longtime foe of Twins stadium subsidies, counters: "They're not buying votes, they're buying access and goodwill. Buying access and goodwill leads to the results they want. They don't need to buy the votes."
  • The proposed Real Salt Lake stadium deal collapsed this week, as Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon declared that selling $48.5 million worth of county bonds on behalf of the soccer team, to be paid off with hotel tax revenues, was "not a good use of taxpayer money." Some local officials held out hope that a new financing plan could be cobbled together, but it doesn't sound too likely - especially with county councilman Joe Hatch, one of the stadium's proponents, saying of Real: "They've done six or seven really silly things. I call them chowderheads."
  • The San Diego city council okayed a lease amendment to allow the Chargers to seek a new home elsewhere in San Diego County, in advance of the January 1, 2007 date when the team will be allowed to relocate anywhere it chooses. Reports the San Diego Union-Tribune: "The most likely suitors are Chula Vista, Oceanside and National City." What, not Azusa and Cucamonga?
  • The latest bulk mailer to Brooklyn residents from New Jersey Nets owner Bruce Ratner - my house, incidentally, got three copies - includes a new twist on selling an arena plan to residents: In overhead renderings, the arena itself is now disguised as an open field of grass. (To see what it would actually look like from ground level, visit the fabulous The chairs of three local community boards, meanwhile, issued a public letter to Ratner charging that the brochure falsely implies the boards were involved in crafting his "community benefits" plan, and requesting that "you discontinue all mention, in any form, of our participation." Maybe Ratner's designers could photoshop in a field of grass instead.

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