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March 12, 2012

Cincy still seeking stadium funds, Sacramento's Olympic dreams, and other stadium news

There was literally a ton of stadium and arena news over the weekend, so it's time to deal with most of them via bullet points:

  • Remember how Hamilton County filled next year's gap in funding for the Cincinnati Reds and Bengals stadiums by selling off a public hospital? Apparently they haven't yet, and the deadline for payment is just three weeks away. Also, part of the plan involved cutting costs and holding more events at the stadiums, but that's not "practical or dependable," according to the county's tax expert. If they manage to get this straightened out, they can do it all over again with next year's funding gap!
  • Sacramento Bee columnist Ailene Voisin notes that the lieutenant governor of Nevada tells her (via cellphone) that if the Kings' new arena gets built, it could host hockey and curling during the 2022 Winter Olympics if Reno-Tahoe is chosen to host. Which tells us three important things: Reno and Tahoe think they can host the Winter Olympics; Nevada has a lieutenant governor; and it lets him have his own cellphone.
  • There's a new plan for that D.C. United stadium at Buzzard Point ... okay, it's actually a plan from 2010. And the main upshot is that five different property owners have pieces of the site, making a deal tough to accomplish. Also that the plan marks one part of the site as "Future Velodrome." Presumably this means a velodrome to be built later, but I prefer to think that it means a place for racing these.
  • The Miami Marlins' fans may be cranky about parking, but it hasn't stopped them from snapping up tickets: ever-quotable team president David Samson claims that the team has gone from "No. 125 — counting minor league teams" in season-ticket sales to the top third in MLB, with close to 15,000 season seats sold. Of course, even these guys had strong ticket sales their first year in a new place; the trick will be to see if the Marlins can keep drawing fans past the honeymoon phase, and into Jose Reyes' first extended trip to the DL.
  • Ray Ratto has summed up the Giants-A's territorial rights dustup in one act. Key quote: "If I could convince Mom and Dad to stop feeding you so you would die and I could bury you in the backyard, I would."

COMMENTS

The Marlins are selling tickets because it's become a short-term tourist attraction to see that stadium. I'm also betting that many scalpers have snapped the tickets up to resell them as they are a hot item. Given the comments that I've read on various boards, fans still don't want to go to games, especially because of the area the team is in. It's a disaster.

Posted by Roger C. on March 12, 2012 06:42 PM

I think this is a pretty good article on two cities that have decided to turn their parking operations to concessionaires:

www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2012/03/there-smart-way-privatize-parking/1472/

In Chicago's case, you have a city that raised a lot of money by leasing out its parking, but probably not enough. The concession isn't working.

On the other hand, Indianapolis's seems to be working pretty well, but this was more like a case where they turned the management of their parking over to a private company. There are many controls in place, and this limited the up-front payment to $20M. Yes, Indy get a yearly payment as well, but the $20M part of this would not work for Sacramento.

Neither of these models would work for what Sacramento is trying to do (raise $200M+, retain control of parking on event-nights, and retaining validation, alternate-mode commuter discounts, employee programs, and so forth).

Sacramento won't be able to look to Chicago or Indianapolis for its model. I just think in a few weeks, they're going to find out that raising $255M wasn't as easy as they thought. That's why this plan they approved wasn't really that; it was more like "let's see if we can actually create a plan that works." I don't think they can.

Posted by MikeM on March 13, 2012 04:20 PM

DC United stadium plan - Why isn't a plan to tear down RFK and build a new stadium on that location, an option? To me that makes the most sense. DC United is only tenant there, it's located within Washington city limits, and it has ample space for parking, etc... Why is this not an option, or the strongest option?

Posted by Joshua D. on May 12, 2012 07:13 PM

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