Milwaukee paper wants you to know how urgent Bucks owners are for arena, whether they are or not

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel where-will-we-put-the-new-Bucks-arena correspondent Don Walker has another update for us, people!

Bucks owners hope to pick site for new arena by year’s end

So, that’s kind of news. Also kind of familiar. Didn’t Walker just write this article?

Local leaders say arena plans must be in place by new year

Oh, okay, before it was the local chamber of commerce head saying he wanted arena plans finalized by the end of the year. Now it’s the Bucks owners saying the same thing. What did they actually say, anyway?

Asked about a timetable, Edens said, “as soon as possible. But that doesn’t mean tomorrow. The reality is a decision like this is a critical one. We would hope to be in the position of having a site by the end of the year. … But it’s not entirely in our control.”

That’s … not actually a timetable, is it? Good thing Edens stuck in an actual date somewhere in his comments, so that the Journal-Sentinel had something to hang a headline on. I’d assumed that Walker’s constant harping on an arena site was because he was too willing to reprint anything that people in positions of power told him, but maybe I’m not giving him enough credit — maybe he’s actually trying to get an arena deal done ASAP so that he can finally be released from his purgatory of having to write the same article over and over and over again. Where’s Heracles when you need him?

NY Times version of Braves stadium story: County considered public vote, it didn’t happen, the end

How to soft-pedal affronts to democracy, New York Times edition:

Tim Lee, the Cobb County chairman who steered negotiations with the [Atlanta] Braves, said Tuesday a vote had been considered for the 700,000 residents of a county historically cautious about government spending. Ultimately, there was no referendum, just an agreement that the county chip in about 45 percent of the actual construction cost, with the Braves picking up the rest.

Not mentioned in this story of a county considering a referendum but “ultimately” having one quashed by the passive voice: The Cobb commissioner who said that a referendum on a $300 million stadium subsidy would be too expensive because it would “cost taxpayers 300, 400 thousand dollars.” Not to mention the part where any public agitation for a referendum was avoided by having county commissioners hide in hallways so that the deal could be announced just two weeks before the commission’s vote. The Times really should have gone with one of the alternate slogans.

Oslo may pull its Olympic bid, starting a trend that — nah, who are we kidding, it’s Oslo

With the vote coming up on whether to withdraw Oslo’s 2022 Olympic bid — because, really, who among us is not transfixed by the Norwegian legislative calendar? — I take a look today for Vice Sports at why cities keep bidding on the Games, despite overwhelming evidence that they are a multi-billion-dollar money suck. Because while a bunch of cities have pulled out of the 2022 bidding for holy-crap-that’s-a-lot-of-money reasons (Krakow, Stockholm, Munich), and some have already done likewise for the 2024 Summer Games (Philadelphia, New York), there are still a ton of cities still eagerly in the running, even if “running” doesn’t necessarily describe their efforts at this early date in the 2024 bid process:

In the U.S. alone, we have Los Angeles, whose bid revolves around rehabbing the 82-year-old L.A. Coliseum into a “state-of-the-art” facility; San Francisco, which has a glowing recommendation letter from Mayor Ed Lee and little else in actual specifics; Boston, which is trying to sell the IOC on a “New England Olympics” with events stretching as far as Maine; and Washington, D.C., the only bid that includes an initial price tag — $4 to 6 billion—and whose website offers a helpful graphic that lists “things you didn’t know about the capital region.” (Sample: “175 embassies.” I think I could have guessed that one.)

(And yes, that $4-6 billion would probably include a stadium that would probably end up hosting Washington’s football team when it was all over. Also, would probably end up being more like $7-10 billion, given past performance.)

There does appear to be a mild trend toward pushback among cities, which shouldn’t be surprising after the last Olympics cost an estimated $50 billion. The problem is, there are a hell of a lot of cities in the world that think they can host the Olympics — especially the summer version, which doesn’t even require a particular climate — and only one winner chosen every two years. With that big a discrepancy between supply and demand, the IOC can demand a hell of a lot of velodromes.

Braves release more renderings of new Cobb stadium that still don’t show promised cantilevering

Hey, it’s a new rendering of the Atlanta Braves‘ new stadium, everybody!

As one Twitter commenter already noted, there is still no sign of the promised cantilevering that was supposed to “push seats closer to the field.” The middle deck might overhang the lower deck by a smidge, and the upper over the middle by a couple of rows, but that’s hardly anything to write home about when compared to the cantilevering of yore.

The rest of the Twitter thread is fun to read as well, including these highlights so far:

The consensus opinion, though, appears to be “meh,” which is a fair take. The Braves are in a tough situation, really, replacing a run-of-the-mill modern stadium with another stadium that doesn’t have any interesting features around it to make it less run-of-the-mill. (Maybe Cobb County could build a suspension bridge across one of its highways?) Actual cantilevering would certainly make a new park stand out, and get fans excited about closer views, but OH NO THE WELL HEELED MIGHT BE CAST INTO SHADOW INSTEAD OF BATHING IN THE GLORY OF THE SUN’S RAYS AS IS THEIR BIRTHRIGHT, so forget that.

NYCFC considering Aqueduct racetrack as stadium site, says some guy

Still getting nowhere on talks for a new soccer stadium in the Bronx, NYC F.C. is now reportedly looking to a site near Aqueduct racetrack in Queens, according to Capital New York:

Sources told Capital the club is now looking to develop the site near the racetrack because there is an abundance of land primed for development.

“They want to bring World Cup soccer into Queens because the deal in the Bronx fell through,” the source said.

Ah, the old “sources close to the negotiations.” This could be either someone with the team (or the city) intentionally trying to leak information as a trial balloon, or someone who just likes to gossip and may or may not know what’s going on — hard to say, really, without more information. Nobody in journalism even bothers to read those ethics guidelines, do they?

In case the idea of a pro soccer stadium at a New York racetrack sounds familiar to you, that was a different soccer team with a different racetrack. Aqueduct at least has the benefit of being within city limits (barely — it’s way out by JFK airport); the land in question was previously proposed as the site of a convention center funded by a giant casino, until everybody realized what a terrible idea that was. (There’s currently a smaller “racino” at Aqueduct, which is only a terrible idea for certain people.)

No details about how an Aqueduct stadium would be funded, of course, or whether NYC F.C. would pay for the land (there are parcels there owned by both the city and state) or property taxes on a stadium, because unnamed sources don’t have to answer questions, see? There would also likely have to be transit upgrades to make a soccer stadium workable — of the two nearby subway stations, one only has a northboard platform so forces riders to go past the stop then doubling back, and the other requires a transfer to a shuttle bus. So there’s a lot still to be answered here, once somebody starts asking questions of people with actual names and faces.

Bills stadium renovations win raves, county exec says building can “last for 30 years” now

Not everybody hates their team’s new stadium: The Buffalo Bills (okay, their stadium is the same old one, just renovated on the public dime) got rave reviews from fans, according to the Buffalo News, with plaudits for the new gates, bigger stairways and restrooms, and expanded scoreboards. One fan even suggested that the renovations had people swearing less than usual:

“There’s a lot less drunkenness. People have more respect,” said [Jennifer] Shanahan, whose gold Buffalo Bills earrings gleamed in the sun. “Everyone is so much happier.”

It’s football utopia! Except for the part where the NFL wants to tear all this down and build a new stadium, something that the News doesn’t actually get around to mentioning in this article.

There are hints, though, that everybody could be backing away from the new-stadium talk, at least for the moment. At the ribbon-cutting for the renovated stadium, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz made one of the strongest statements yet in favor of sticking with the Bills’ current home:

“I’d ask for everyone to kind of sit back and let’s take a look and see how we’re doing here in this next year or so, because we know the facility structurally can last another 30 years. There’s a difference between infrastructure viability and long-term economic viability. I feel very confident if we do this right, not only will the facility last for 30 years but the economic viability of this facility will last to for years to come.”

And Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has flip-flopped on this issue multiple times this year, added: “The Bills are staying. The stadium’s good. Let’s stay right here for a while. Let’s win today, and the future will take care of itself.”

Added to the recent Buffalo News article signaling that Sabres owner Terry Pegula’s purchase of the team makes stadium talks “less urgent,” and it certainly sounds like someone in the NFL has gotten the message that this is a bad time to be asking for a new stadium, and the Bills can just live with their $200 million in existing state subsidies for the time being. Clearly my work is done here.

Fans at 49ers home opener spend more time getting out of parking lot than watching 49ers lose

The San Francisco 49ers finally had their real, honest-to-god, official regular season home opener at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara yesterday, and according to the San Jose Mercury News, the traffic still royally sucks:

While post-game transit rides appeared smooth, some fans who drove reported huge waits to get out of the parking spaces, saying it took two hours or more just to leave their lot.
Some fans resorted to driving over curbs to get out and others said travelers looked so angry they were ready to fight the parking attendants. Others, in a fit of rage, claimed they wouldn’t return until the situation was fixed.

At least traffic getting to the game was a “non-issue,” according to NBC Bay Area, with — sorry, you weren’t finished, Merc News?

Fans going to the blue lots off Lawrence Expressway reported pregame waits of up to two hours.

“I have to say, it’s beyond frustrating,” San Jose resident Joey Windham, 35, said from his car before the game, where he had barely budged for two hours. “It pretty much has zapped the life out of everybody.”

 

Now, the 49ers’ old place had some traffic problems, too, so take all this with a grain of salt. (Especially the bit about fans refusing to come back.) But if nothing else, this is a sign that the preseason traffic woes can’t be cured by the Great America amusement park being closed on game days (as it was last night), or running a few extra commuter trains.

One improvement: No one died from the heat this time!

Buffalo News runs actual article saying Bills stadium possibly not needed right now, maybe

Well, lo and behold, I might actually owe the Buffalo News an apology for all the time I’ve spent poking fun at their atrocious coverage of the Bills stadium demands. The day after Terry Pegula won the bidding to purchase the Bills, here’s what the News ran today:

Pegulas’ winning bid makes stadium decision less urgent

ALBANY – The decision about whether the Buffalo Bills will get a new stadium, renovate their existing home or keep things as they are for now has become less urgent, now that Terry and Kim Pegula have been announced as the winning bidders for the team.

Okay, so it’s just recounting what some state leaders say, and is more “We don’t have to build a stadium just yet” than “Do we need to build a stadium at all?” (Sen. Charles Schumer says Pegula’s purchase provides a chance to “take a look at how we can collectively surmount the challenges to a new stadium that would strengthen the franchise for decades to come.”) But still, at least Buffalo residents are getting a break from the constant drumbeat of how a new stadium needs to be discussed immedi — sorry, what’s that, WGRZ-TV?

Pegula Purchase Re-ignites Stadium Talk

Never mind.

Cuomo now says Bills are fine in old stadium, but check back tomorrow

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo won his primary re-election battle on Tuesday, and was immediately asked to chime in again on the Buffalo Bills stadium debate. This time, the Pop-o-Matic landed on … not enthused!

“You know, uh, maybe I have a vested interest because I have kind of tight pockets, I’ve been accused of, but I think the stadium with the renovations is doing very well.”

Yeah, who do those people think they are, insisting that the Bills need a new stadium. Like that guy who said in August, “If we need a new stadium to keep the Bills here long term, that’s something that I’m interested in talking about.” What ever happened to him?

Milwaukee paper now just writing about every possible place Bucks could put an arena

The Buffalo News may be trying to be your news leader in focusing obsessively on where to put the new sports venue that nobody knows how to pay for yet, but Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel isn’t going to take that lying down. Walker’s gone this route before, but today he doubles down on head-down where-will-it-go reporting, with the headline:

Is UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena a possible new arena site?

Well, that sounds like news, anyway? What’s the answer?

Franklyn Gimbel of the Wisconsin Center District says he has been assured by someone at City Hall that a new arena in Milwaukee will not be built on land now occupied by the 64-year-old UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena…

But Mayor Tom Barrett says that’s not true. Every potential site downtown is still on the table, he says.

So either “no” or “yes, the same as every other site in Milwaukee,” depending on who you believe. This could be a great way for Walker to fill column inches (or screens, I guess, since this is a web article): All he needs is a map of Milwaukee and a dart, and he can keep writing this same column for years.