Vegas signs agreement with somebody to propose soccer stadium costing something and paid for somehow

The city of Las Vegas is moving ahead with that MLS stadium plan, approving an “Exclusive Negotiating Agreement” (caps in original) with Renaissance Companies — the press coverage isn’t exactly clear on whether it’s the Arizona construction managers or the California investment advisors or the Chicago housing developers, none of which appear to have experience building stadiums — to come up with a plan to “including specific details of the stadium and costs” in the next six months. So this really is an “okay, show us what you got” agreement, though calling it “exclusive” gives it a bit more official imprimatur, and presumably means the city won’t be doing anything else with the Cashman Field site in the interim.

But even if Renaissance doesn’t yet know how much the stadium would cost or who would pay for it or even which Renaissance they are, they do have renderings! Oh boy, do they have renderings:

Yes, that is indeed a retractable field in the last image, with the pitch sliding out into the open air to reveal … another soccer pitch, this one in the open air of the stadium itself? Though maybe those fine lines running across the top of the stadium represent some kind of super-invisible roof that would protect fans from the heat while allowing in all light except for what grass needs to grow? Or maybe the second field is artificial turf, so the stadium could be used for … not football, that’s what the Las Vegas Raiders stadium is for, but some other sport that needs to be played on artificial turf, like, okay, I’m not thinking of any, but maybe they’re planning to invent one?

Anyway, there’s lots of fireworks and spotlights and reflected sunlight even if not quite lens flare per se, plus plenty of entourage featuring a whole lot of Rockettes standing around outside the stadium for some reason. Also, it’s not just a stadium, it’s a “sports and innovation district,” and clearly adding “innovation” to your district name isn’t a sign that it’s an empty scam or anything. It’ll clearly be great!

Meanwhile, if you’re wondering why Las Vegas needs a new soccer stadium when it’s already building a new football stadium that could host a soccer team, Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley is wondering that, too! In a just and sane world, one would hope that having two competing soccer plans would enable Vegas officials to cut the best deal for residents and taxpayers, but that is clearly not the universe we live in.

Roger Goodell touts new Buffalo Bills stadium by pretty much straight-up reading from Field of Schemes chapter four

One of the most important job responsibilities of any sports commissioner is shaking down cities for new or improved stadiums in situations where it would be too awkward for team owners to make direct threats themselves, which is to say in pretty much all situations. And of all sports commissioners, none has thrown himself into this aspect of the job than the NFL’s Roger Goodell, who has made an emergency flight to Minnesota to threaten the state legislature over the Vikings, tried to get St. Louis to build a new Rams stadium 20 years after the last one, and held out Super Bowls as a carrot for cities that agree to fund new stadiums, among other things.

Goodell has been especially vocal in the case of the Buffalo Bills, declaring in 2014 that a new stadium was necessary to keep the team in Buffalo even though the team was in the process of a sale that required any new owners to keep the team in Buffalo, and then reiterating in 2016 that “we’ve got great facilities here now and the Bills have to stay up with that.” So since it’s been a couple of years, yesterday at a golf tournament he was at it again:

“The reason why I’m supportive is because I want to make sure this franchise remains stable here, and continues, and remains competitive,” Goodell told reporters. “And I think it’s great for this community. And we’ve been able to do these stadiums in such a way that it creates a tremendous economic benefit, too.

“I want the Bills to be successful and I want them to continue to be competitive here in Buffalo.”

That’s a lot of coded arguments all in the span of a few short sentences, so let’s unpack them. Fortunately, it’s easy to do so, since Joanna Cagan and I wrote up pretty much all of these rhetorical moves way back in 1998, in Chapter Four of the very first edition of Field of Schemes:

  • “I want to make sure this franchise remains stable here, and continues.” This is the non-threat threat, as practiced by league commissioners since time immemorial, and sometimes even lesser league officials: In 1996, now all-but-forgotten National League president Leonard Coleman warned during Astros stadium talks that “We want to do all we can to first keep a team in Houston,” which turned out to be mostly Houston taxpayers doing something, as the public covered $180 million worth of stadium and private owners covered only $85 million.
  • “And remains competitive.” This is leveling the playing field, the argument that teams without new stadiums invariably lose — whether lose games or lose money or what is usually not made clear. In another book I established that there’s very little correlation between new stadiums and teams winning ballgames in MLB (new stadiums turned out to be worth about 5.5 wins per year in their first five seasons, most likely due to team owners spending more on players now that they could have the hope of selling more expensive tickets to see them play), and in the NFL, where pretty much every team has similar revenues and expenses thanks to shared TV money and the salary cap, it’s an even sillier notion that new homes lead to more wins.
  • “I think it’s great for this community.” This is the intangibles argument, where you note that it’s impossible to put a price on having a sports team to root for. Except that when economists have attempted to put a price on that very thing, they’ve found that it’s worth a lot less to residents than the cost of a new stadium or arena.
  • “We’ve been able to do these stadiums in such a way that it creates a tremendous economic benefit, too.” This is playing the numbers, and don’t even get me started.

The amusing thing about the Bills situation — or the alarming one, depending on how you look at it — is that team owners Kim and Terry Pegula seem lukewarm at best on demanding a new stadium, saying one would be nice and all, but they’re really pricey to build and tickets at them are expensive and maybe let’s all talk about it another time. Goodell, though, has only one setting, and that’s maximum shakedown mode, even when being interviewed at a golf tee. Guess he’s gotta make the other NFL owners feel like he’s earning that $40 million annual salary somehow

 

 

Friday roundup: Clippers broke public meetings law, Vegas seeks MLS team, Buccaneers used bookkeeping tricks to try to get oil-spill money

Any week with a new/old Superchunk album is a good one! Please listen while reading this week’s roundup of leftover stadium and arena news:

  • The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office has determined that Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer violated open meetings laws by hiding information about the team’s proposed new Inglewood arena’s location and scope when formally proposing it in 2017, even replacing the name “Clippers” with “Murphy’s Bowl LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company (Developer).” Unfortunately, the DA’s office noted, it’s too late to do anything about this because the violation wasn’t reported in time, but don’t do it again, I guess? In related news, NBA commissioner Adam Silver says he supports the team’s arena plan, even though Ballmer is being sued by New York Knicks owner James Dolan, who also owns the nearby Forum and doesn’t want the competition, and who was apparently the main reason for all that secrecy on the part of Ballmer. It’s all enough to make you feel sympathetic to Dolan, until you remember that he is an awful person.
  • Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman has announced she’s looking at building an MLS stadium in her city, because “We have not become the pariah anymore, and there is no end to this. It’s so exciting,” which would almost make sense if MLS had previously steered clear of Vegas because of gambling or something and also if MLS were currently about to put a franchise in Vegas, neither of which is the case. The stadium, if it’s ever built, would go on the site of Cashman Field, where the USL Championship Las Vegas Lights FC currently play, and would be paid for by some method that the developers “would have to present” to the city council, according to the mayor’s office. It’s so exciting!
  • The owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tried to get $19.5 million in settlement money from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster on the grounds that the team lost revenue that summer compared to the following summer when it was banking extra NFL checks that the league was stockpiling in advance of a player lockout. Amazingly, that’s not what got the claim rejected — it was only nixed when it turned out the Bucs hadn’t even stockpiled that revenue at the time, but rather did so retroactively on its books when it realized it could use it as a way to try to get oil spill settlement cash. It’s such a fine line between mail fraud and clever.
  • Inter Miami owners David Beckham and Jorge Mas have agreed to pay a youth golf program $3 million to clear out of the way of their proposed Melreese soccer stadium and move, you know, somewhere else, so long as it’s not on their lawn. This is not a ton of money in the grand scheme of things, but it is worth noting that Beckham and Mas are sinking a whole lot of money into this stadium and a temporary stadium until this one is ready and the old new stadium site that they say they’re not building a stadium on anymore; this can either be seen as a laudable commitment to private funding or a dubious business investment or, hell, why not both?
  • The Portland Diamond Project group has gotten a six-month extension on its deadline to decide whether to build a baseball stadium at the Terminal 2 site, and is paying only $225,000, instead of the $500,000 it was originally supposed to be charged. That seems like bad negotiating by the Port of Portland when they had the wannabe team owners over a barrel, but I guess $225,000 just for a six-month option on a site that probably won’t work anyway for a team that probably won’t exist anytime soon is nothing to turn up your nose at.
  • When the headline reads “New A’s stadium could generate up to $7.3 billion, team-funded study predicts,” do I even need to explain that it’s nonsense? If you want a general primer on why “economic impact” numbers don’t mean much of anything, though, I think I addressed that pretty well in this article.
  • The Los Angeles Rams‘ new stadium is reportedly set to get $20 million in naming rights payments for 20 years from a company that lost hundreds of millions of dollars last year, which is surely not going to result in a repeat of the Enron Field fiasco.
  • A reporter at the Boston Bruins‘ 24-year-old home arena was startled by a rat on live TV. Clearly it’s time to tear it down and build a new one.

Cuyahoga County to spend extra $40m on arena repairs after Cavaliers blew through first $22m in record time

It’s Wednesday, so it must be time for Cuyahoga County to spend more money on the Cavaliers‘ arena:

Cuyahoga County Council is considering whether to issue $40 million in bonds to reimburse the Cleveland Cavaliers for repairs the county is required to cover under the team’s lease agreement on Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

Also under consideration is a measure that would re-finance $40 million of the $60 million in bonds sold by the county in 2015 as an advance on revenues from the county’s so-called sin tax, which was extended 20 years by a 2014 vote.

That’s a lot of words, but careful readers will zero in on the two numbers: $40 million and $40 million, which added together come to $80 million. It’s not really $80 million in new spending — one set of bonds would be new, the other merely refinanced — but it is a significant chunk of change for an arena that has already gotten a whole lot of chunks in recent years.

The reason for the new spending proposals, as explained in a not very clear article at Cleveland.com, is that the county agreed to cover “major capital repairs” in the team’s lease, and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert (who is reportedly doing better after his recent stroke) has already blown through $22 million in county tax funds while also fronting $40 million of his own money, for such things as “the replacement of the heating and cooling system, retractable seating, sports lights, ADA-compliant restrooms, and other things.” Some of that sounds a bit dodgy as required maintenance — is that replacing worn-out retractable seating and sports lights, or upgrading them? and WTF are “sports lights,” anyway? — but if the lease says the county has to pay for them, there’s not much the county can do about that, hence the rush to pass another $40 million bond issue.

The main problem here is that the county appears to have either seriously overestimated how fast tax revenues would come in, or seriously underestimated how much capital expenses the arena would rack up so quickly. Given that the county previously said it would be using taxes on Cavs playoff tickets to help pay off its existing arena upgrade bonds, and the Cavs currently just finished year one of an umpteen-year rebuild following the departure of LeBron James, I’m putting my money on … you know, probably both.

Montreal’s new tourism minister wants to spend $250m on a new Olympic Stadium roof, just like old tourism minister

What do you get for a stadium that’s already had one retractable roof replaced by a non-retractable roof when the original retractable roof failed to retract? How about a new (possibly retractable) roof!

“It’s time we gave prestige and standing back to the Olympic Park and the Olympic Stadium,” [Québec Tourism Minister Caroline] Proulx told reporters at a news conference. “For too long it has been not loved or under-loved by Quebecers.”…

“We will be working on replacing the roof, it is mandatory to change the roof,” Proulx said. “We will change the roof. The business plan will be tabled in the next few months.”

This is not the first we’ve heard of Montreal’s Olympic Stadium getting a new roof — a year and a half ago, the previous tourism minister floated spending about $250 million on one, which at the time I called “just madness.” There are certainly times when stadiums need repairs — for Olympic Stadium, this has historically been “pretty much always” — but spending $250 million on a new roof, retractable or otherwise, is a hella expensive way to provide “standing and prestige,” especially when past roofs have only resulted in scandal and ridicule.

Even if you don’t want to tear down the stadium — which is currently getting $17 million a year in provincial subsidies, according to the Montreal Gazette, though it didn’t specify if these are just operating subsidies or include paying off the cost of past roofs and such — maybe it’s time to consider whether it wouldn’t be a better investment just to take the roof off entirely and leave the stadium open-air, as it was for the first decade of its existence. Sure, then it couldn’t be used for all of the 200 events a year it’s supposedly currently used for — actual number a whole lot less than that, unless guided tours of the stadium count as “events” — but are a handful of extra wintertime concerts or whatever, or even a shot at hosting some 2026 World Cup games (which, you know, take place in the summer when it’s quite pleasant outside in Montreal) really going to be worth $250 million in expense? I guess that’s not the sort of thing you ask when you’re the tourism minister and your job is promoting tourism at all cost and not figuring out how to pay for it, but one hopes that the rest of Québec’s legislators will give this proposal at least a bit more sideeye.

FC Cincinnati tax subsidy worth $17m approved last year wasn’t actually approved last year, it turns out

Turns out the city of Cincinnati overlooked something last year when it approved its share of $63.8 million in subsidies for a new F.C. Cincinnati soccer stadium: $17 million of the city’s share will come from local hotel taxes, which are controlled by the joint city-county Convention Facilities Authority, which now isn’t sure it actually wants to hand over the dough unless the city agrees to cover any shortfall created in paying maintenance and debt service on the city’s convention center.

If I’m reading this Cincinnati Enquirer article right, it’s the county holding up the shifting of the funds, which makes sense, since the county would be on the hook for any shortfall that the city didn’t fill.

There’s an authority meeting set for this afternoon, at which maybe a solution will be hashed out. Either way, it sounds like the hashing will take place between the city and the county, not the private team owners — heaven forfend anyone ask them to cover any shortfalls — though if there’s an impasse, it could force the team to either delay construction or borrow money at a higher interest rate. (The $17 million is meant to be seed money that F.C. Cincinnati’s owners would then borrow off of — if stadium finance doesn’t make your head hurt, you’re probably not doing it right.)

There’s also a city council vote set for this Thursday on rezoning the land the team owners want to use for a stadium entrance, which is opposed by the people who currently live in buildings located on the proposed entrance site and slated for eviction. The Enquirer says it’s “unclear” if the rezoning will pass, which is journalism code for “we either asked councilmembers how they’ll vote and they wouldn’t tell us or we didn’t get around to asking them before our publication deadline”; many answers remain hazy, in other words, ask again at the end of the week.

Inter Miami could get huge Trump tax break for building Overtown stadium (or Overtown anything)

Inter Miami owners Jorge Mas and David Beckham announced last week that they intended to close on a $9 million purchase of three acres of county-owned land in Miami’s Overtown that was needed for a soccer stadium — which was only weird in that they decided last year not to build a stadium there, but instead build one at Melreese Golf Course.

Now, the Miami Herald thinks it has an explanation: The Overtown land is part of one of Donald Trump’s “opportunity zones,” which would allow both the land and any businesses on it to be sold after ten years for a tax-free capital gain:

In the case of a soccer stadium, the owners could sell the land and the team after 10 years and any profits would be tax-free.

“When these stadiums get sold, they often come with the franchise,” said Peter Mekras, managing director of Aztec Group, a real estate investment firm. “If you make a major capital investment in an Opportunity Zone and the physical part appreciates in value and it’s a good business venture, you’re allowing a smart decision to be even smarter.”

Given that we’re talking an MLS franchise here, it’s not all that likely there would be much in the way of on-paper profits to get a tax break on — and stadiums tend not to appreciate in value, either. The only way Mas and Beckham could really score big would be if they can avoid capital gains taxes on the entire increased value of the franchise since Beckham bought it; remember, Beckham got an option to buy the team for a cut-rate $25 million, and expansion teams now go for $200 million a pop. Would the IRS let the team owners get away with claiming that Inter Miami was still only worth $25 million when it moved to Overtown, and the entire appreciation came while the team was playing there? I’ve been reading way too much about opportunity zones, and I couldn’t tell you for sure — this is ripe for further investigation by someone with more research time on their hands. (Hint, hint, Miami Herald.)

Of course, it’s also possible that Mas and Beckham have no intention of building a soccer stadium in Overtown, as they’ve repeatedly said is the case, and are just spending $9 million to finish the rest of a parcel that they can then either develop for something else or sell to another investor, knowing it comes with potential tax breaks. In which case the only real complaint here is that Miami-Dade County maybe should have charged more for the land if it comes with a bonus Trump gift coupon. This is why it’s generally a bad idea to have tax break programs with really confusing rules that were approved without public hearings: You’re very likely to end up with loopholes that investors can drive a truck through.

Friday roundup: Red Wings owner touts his “passion” amid sea of parking lots, cities are terrible stadium negotiators, newspapers are terrible newspapers

The cryptocurrency-based journalism startup Civil couldn’t have gone much worse, but it did spawn a couple of successes, none more welcome than Hmm Daily, the news commentary site from former Gawker and Deadspin editor Tom Scocca. Or as I will always think of him, the co-founder of Funny Paper, the now virtually unfindable-on-the-internet weekly(ish) political analysis of daily comic strips that was the greatest such enterprise until the great Josh Fruhlinger elevated it to an even higher art form. I’ve been enjoying Scocca’s excellent columns on the militarization of language and how big a giant bee is for months now, but I didn’t feel compelled to bite the bullet and kick in any money until I spotted this photo caption in an article by Scocca’s Funny Paper co-conspirator Joe MacLeod: “I have no beef with the M&M’s homunculus infesting the menu.” If you know me at all from reading this website, you know that I immediately pulled out my wallet and became a paying Hmm Daily subscriber (at the $5 a month level, though the reward at the $50,000 level is truly amazing).

Anyways, on to the sports stadium and arena newses:

  • The District Detroit development around the new Red Wings arena still consists mostly of some state-subsidized parking lots, but Red Wings exec Christopher Ilitch says that’s okay because “Our timelines may change. Our passion, the energy, the way we feel about this community has not.” And truly, who can put a price on feels?
  • The Voice of OC cites “experts” as saying that Anaheim may not be driving a hard enough bargain with Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno on a price for stadium parking lot development rights, and oh hey look, it’s me. Also Holy Cross economist Victor Matheson, who says, “Cities tend to be remarkably bad negotiators when it comes to professional sports,” which, yup.
  • Politifact Wisconsin did a fact-check on claims that the state of Wisconsin will get a “tremendous” payback on its Milwaukee Bucks arena subsidies and found that that’s only if you assume the Bucks would have moved without them, and assume that Bucks fans would have all stopped spending their money in Wisconsin without them, and assume that NBA salaries will quintuple by the 2040s, and further found that Villanova sports stadium researcher Rick Eckstein calls the revenue estimates “fantasy figures,” and concluded that this makes the claim Mostly True. It is just slightly possible that having staff members of the local newspaper that has a record of overarching credulity on the arena deal do fact-checking on it might not be the best idea.
  • The people trying to get an MLB franchise in Portland are running out of momentum as MLB waits for the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A’s to work out their stadium situations before considering expansion, but at least they got a meeting with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred — no wait, the news report has corrected itself, they didn’t even get that. Well, at least they have weirdly non-Euclidean renderings.
  • Speaking of MLB expansion hopefuls, Montreal’s would-be neo-Expos owner Stephen Bronfman has a deal in place on land for a new stadium … not on buying the land, mind you, but with a developer to help develop the non-stadium part of the land once they buy it. This could be a while.
  • And speaking of the Rays and of terrible newspapers, the Tampa Bay Times’ John Romano wants to know when St. Petersburg and Tampa officials will stop bickering and get to work on throwing money at Rays owner Stuart Sternberg already?
  • The New York Times is a significantly less terrible newspaper, but a profile on A’s president Dave Kaval with the headline “Can This Man Keep the A’s in Oakland?” is not only pretty sycophantic in its own right, but it assumes a lot about the team owners moving without a new stadium when they’ve already gone a couple of decades demanding a new stadium and not getting one and still not moving.
  • Henderson, Nevada, is giving $10 million to the owners of the Vegas Golden Knights to build a practice rink, which is dumb but less dumb than some other cities’ expenses on similar projects.
  • The Arizona Coyotes are getting a new majority owner and the Phoenix Suns are up for sale, according to Sportsnet’s John Shannon, who added, “as one NHL official told me yesterday, when I asked that very question, I said, ‘Does this new owner mean that there’s an arena closer to fruition?’ And the answer was, if you get a new owner, there’s a better chance of a new arena. So you can put two and two together, Steve.” Then the Suns owners and a report in The Athletic on the Coyotes completely refuted what Shannon said, so maybe you’re better off putting two and two together without his help.
  • I was about to write up this news story about a potential rezoning approval for Austin F.C.‘s new stadium, but then I saw that KXAN managed to write “Austin’s Planing Commission” and “this ammendment” in the first three paragraphs, and now I gotta go cry all day about the death of copy editing, sorry.

Residents of buildings set to be razed for FC Cincinnati walkway demand compensation for losing homes

The controversy over the residents of Cincinnati’s West End who are getting evicted by F.C. Cincinnati because of the team’s new stadium but not technically for the team’s new stadium is heating up, with tenants demanding that the team find them new housing and pay compensation for booting them from their longtime homes:

The letter, from Wade Street & Central Avenue Tenants United, was sent by Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition Executive Director Josh Spring, to the public Monday night.

“We should continue to live in 421 Wade and 1559 Central until this replacement housing is completed and each of us has suitable housing and FCC should pay all moving costs and proper compensation to tenants,” the letter said.

The twelve residents of the two buildings, which are set to be torn down to make way for not the stadium proper but for an entrance to the stadium, have been told they have to vacate the property by May 31, but according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, “team lawyers have publicly said nobody will be kicked out on that date, though people need to find new housing,” which hunnnhh? While lobbying for taxpayer funding for the stadium, team president Jeff Berding had promised that no residents would be displaced, but now says he only meant no residents of the City West development nearby, not no residents at all.

While it looks like the conflict will be resolved by settling on a compensation payout, the tenants made clear that the real issue is that they don’t want to move, and are being forced to just so a soccer team can have a walkway:

The letter said Berding and FC Cincinnati officials “must not understand the gravity of this situation.”

“They are threatening our homes, our stability and our physical and mental health,” the letter said. “We live where we live because we like our neighborhood, we like our streets, we have relationships with our neighbors, our kids go to school and play nearby, we have close family and friends nearby, we can financially afford our current homes, our jobs are close by, we have access to transportation and our medical care can easily reach us.”

Which, yeah, sure, people get forced to move from homes they like all the time for lots of reasons, including just the capitalist housing market. But that doesn’t make it any less tragic when it’s happening to you, especially when you have reason to believe there were other options available.

Is Angels owner Arte Moreno just playing Long Beach for leverage or what?

Yesterday’s Long Beach Post had the most detailed timeline yet of Long Beach’s flirtation with the Los Angeles Angels over a new stadium, and it goes something like this:

  • A Long Beach councilmember emailed an Angels vice-president in 2014, when the team was first talking about leaving Anaheim for someplace else in Orange County or environs, “but the conversation went nowhere.”
  • A Long Beach official had a meeting with an Angels lawyer in 2017, but a followup meeting never happened, city economic development director John Keisler explaining, “We called a bunch of times, but they never responded.”
  • In October 2018, when Angels owner Arte Moreno abruptly decided to opt out of his Anaheim lease, Long Beach started preparing a stadium site plan in earnest, and in January of this year there were high-level meetings between city and team officials, shepherded by local real estate developer Frank Suryan.

So the question now becomes: Did Angels execs finally start returning Long Beach’s phone calls because they were seriously interested in moving there, or because they were seriously interested in Anaheim officials thinking they were seriously interested in moving there? In other words, is this a genuine possibility, or just a savvy negotiator trying to create leverage?

Unfortunately, the two tactics look pretty much the same from the outside, and it could always even be both: There’s no reason Moreno couldn’t have said, “Sure, go talk to Long Beach, either it’ll pan out or at worst it’ll help me play hardball in my talks with Anaheim.” So we have to stare really hard at the tea leaves to try to suss this out:

  • The Long Beach stadium comes with a $1 billion price tag, and no plan yet for how to pay it off. That would take $60-70 million a year in new revenues just to break even on, and it’s hard to see how a Long Beach stadium would be that much more profitable than the one Moreno already has in Anaheim, especially with no room for housing or other development on the site.
  • About that site: It’s still really damn small. The Long Beach Post published its own image of Angel Stadium superimposed onto the site, as provided by “the architecture firm Gensler,” but weirdly made it a narrow banner image that can’t be viewed in its entirety. Viewing the page source reveals it to be this:

    Which would overlap two major roads and the Long Beach arena, plus part of a park and neighboring lagoon. The site isn’t quite unworkably small, but it would at best take some extremely creative design to get it to fit.
  • Angels spokesperson Marie Garvey said in response to queries about Long Beach, “We get approached by cities all the time. This is nothing new.” She then added: “Right now we’re only talking to Long Beach and Anaheim.”

It certainly has all the ingredients of a leverage move, but crazier ideas have happened, so.

Moreno is still reportedly set to make a decision — whatever such a decision would mean, as plenty of other team owners have made stadium decisions then later backed out of them when they proved unworkable — sometime this year. Maybe by then Long Beach will actually have a site plan and financing plan in place; even more likely, by then former Anaheim mayor Tom Tait’s parting gift to the city of a new appraisal of the Angel Stadium parking lot land value will be complete, and Moreno and new mayor Harry Sidhu will have a starting point for figuring out what Moreno should have to pay if he wants to develop the lots and use the proceeds for stadium renovations (or, I guess, just stuff the cash down his pants). Watching slow-motion jockeying like this can be very frustrating not just for fans and interested followers of stadium negotiations but also for journalists, which is why we get long articles about who was talking to whom when, and then long blog posts about the long articles; it’s fine to rubberneck at it all, so long as you keep in your mind that talk is cheap, and steel and concrete are expensive.