Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category.
No one loves local sports teams more than the local media. I think they know, but probably won't admit, that they would lose a huge chunk of their remaining readership / viewership for their news products if they did not have local sports to report on. So you will almost never, ever, ever see local media reporting reporting on the true cost (in terms of handouts of taxpayer money) to retaining pro teams.
My coverage of the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes hockey team goes way back, including even to a mention in a George Will column. I won't repeat all of that. I just want to point to this article entitled "Glendale selects AEG to manage Gila River Arena; Arizona Coyotes' future unclear."
Glendale selected facilities-management company AEG Facilities to operate Gila River Arena, likely hastening the city's split with the Arizona Coyotes hockey team.
The telling thing about the article is that it never once explains to readers why this bid award might hasten the split with the Coyotes. They mention that the Coyotes chose not to bid on the contract. So why is this award a problem for them? Do they hate AEG for some reason? If you really were new to the issues here, you would have to scratch your head and wonder why the two issues were connected.
Oddly enough, everyone knows the reason, but the local media really wants to avoid mentioning this reason. Here is the elephant in the room no one will recognize: The Coyotes struggle to make money in this market, a fact made worse by the terrible location of the stadium at the far end of town from most of the potential corporate ticket buyers and wealthy people. As a result, the team languished in bankruptcy for years, in part because the NHL (who took over the team) refused to sell it at a reasonable market price.
They finally found a buyer who agreed to buy it for an above-market price, but did so only because there was an implicit promise by the town of Glendale to subsidize them the $100 million difference between the actual and market price of the team.. The Goldwater Institute called foul on this subsidy and got it stopped. So the town found a way around it, promising to award the team the stadium management contract for a price $8-$10 million a year above market rates for the service. The present value of this above-market pricing over the life of the proposed contract nearly exactly matched the earlier subsidy proposal Goldwater killed. Various folks cried foul again, seeing through this sham, and got that stopped.
So the reason this award of the stadium management contract to AEG is so devastating to the Coyotes is that this contract represented the last hope of exacting a hidden subsidy from the city. With this contract awarded to an arms-length third party at market rates, the last chance of making the Coyote's business viable on the taxpayer's backs seems to have escaped.
Update: I am hearing now that another reason the Coyotes are done in Glendale is that they think the city of Phoenix or Scottsdale will build them a new stadium. ugh. Will it never end.
5 minutes ago the title of this post would have been "F*cking Cardinals" for giving up that hail mary pass to Green Bay -- didn't anyone watch the tape on the Detriot game, with the receiver backing into the end zone to make the catch? This play was almost an exact duplicate. I will, though, give credit to the Cardinals for blitzing the QB on that play -- I think that was smart and would have worked against most teams. Only Aaron Rodgers could have gotten that throw off.
Anyway, Fitz was already beloved in Phoenix, not only as a great football player but as an awesome human being. Now just more so.
NFL coaches hate Thursday night games, because their players have essentially only half the preparation and recovery time as they do on a normal Sunday game schedule.
So here is my (partial) solution. Where possible, teams playing Thursday night should have their bye week the previous weekend. For teams with the bye week the previous week, a Thursday night game is no issue -- in fact, it might even be a benefit, breaking up a single long-preparation period between games into two longer-than-average periods.
This is probably only a partial solution. Only 8 weeks have bye weeks, and since for week 1 the Thursday game is no issue, this only solves the Thursday problem on 9 of the 17 regular season weeks. I suppose we could extend by weeks to more weeks of the season, but even as they exist today a partial solution is better than none at all, right?
For years college presidents cut a Faustian bargain with their football programs. The University would shield athletes from having to take any actual classes and shower the program with money meant for academics in return for the football program raising the visibility and prestige of the university and at least nominally pretending that academics come first. For years Presidents consoled themselves that they still held the whip hand in the relationship, even when it was increasingly clear they did not (e.g. at Penn State). This week, it was proved for all the world who is in charge. University Presidents can keep their jobs only so long as the football players are kept happy.
A reader pointed me to this letter apparently sent to the Chicago Tribune last year in response to an editorial saying the Redskins name had to go. I can't prove it was real, but who cares at this point? It is funny:
Dear Mr. Page...
I always love your articles. and I generally agree with them. I would suggest, as in an email I received, they change the name to the "Foreskins" to better represent their community, paying tribute to the di@k heads in Congress.
Here are some other politically correctness to consider: I agree with our Native American population. I am highly insulted by the racially charged name of the Washington Redskins. One might argue that to name a professional football team after Native Americans would exalt them as fine warriors, but nay, nay. We must be careful not to offend, and in the spirit of political correctness and courtesy, we must move forward. Let's ditch the Kansas City Chiefs, the Atlanta Braves and the Cleveland Indians. If your shorts are in a wad because of the reference the name Redskins makes to skin color, then we need to get rid of the Cleveland Browns.
The Carolina Panthers obviously were named to keep the memory of militant Blacks from the 60's alive. Gone. It's offensive to us white folk.
The New York Yankees offend the Southern population. Do you see a team named for the Confederacy? No! There is no room for any reference to that tragic war that cost this country so many young men's lives.
I am also offended by the blatant references to the Catholic religion among our sports team names. Totally inappropriate to have the New Orleans Saints, the Los Angeles Angels or the San Diego Padres.
Then there are the team names that glorify criminals who raped and pillaged. We are talking about the horrible Oakland Raiders, the Minnesota Vikings, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Pittsburgh Pirates!
Now, let us address those teams that clearly send the wrong message to our children. The San Diego Chargers promote irresponsible fighting or even spending habits. Wrong message to our children.
The New York Giants and the San Francisco Giants promote obesity, a growing childhood epidemic. Wrong message to our children.
The Cincinnati Reds promote downers/barbiturates . Wrong message to our children.
The Milwaukee Brewers---well that goes without saying . . . Wrong message to our children.
So, there you go. We need to support any legislation that comes out to rectify this travesty, because the government will likely become involved with this issue, as they should. Just the kind of thing the do-nothing congress loves . . .
As a die hard Oregon State fan, my wife and I, with all of this in mind, it might also make some sense to change the name of the Oregon State women's athletic teams to something other than "the Beavers."
Many of us casual fans were introduced to the culture war in baseball (i.e. Bill James / data-driven analysis vs. grizzled old scouts looking for five-tool players) by the book Moneyball.
Well, with the recent news that the St. Louis Cardinals may have been caught hacking the Houston Astros data base, it is pretty clear which side won. This article explains why the until-recently hapless Astros were the target of hacking by one of the last decade's most successful teams.
If you remember the scene in the movie Moneyball where there were a bunch of traditional old scouts sitting around the table debating players, compare that image to this:
When the Astros plucked Colorado's Collin McHugh off the waiver wire after the 2013 season despite his career 8.94 ERA, the move might've surprised some folks. But today's major league stadiums are wired with systems such as PitchF/X and TrackMan that use Doppler radar to track the ball in three dimensions. For every pitch thrown in every game, teams now know the location, acceleration, movement, velocity and the axis of rotation of the ball. The Astros grabbed McHugh because they saw that while his sinker didn't play well at Coors Field, he had a superior curveball that rotated about 2,000 times a minute, or 500 times more than an average curve spins.
It was the baseball equivalent of noticing a needle in the data haystack.
Once he was in Houston, the coaches told McHugh to change his arsenal by throwing that terrific curve more and replacing the sinker with a high fastball.
The result? His ERA nosedived to 2.73 in his first season with the Astros.
By the way, given the technology described here, and the tech I see deployed on the typical baseball TV broadcast, why do we still have human beings calling balls and strikes?
For years I have excoriated the City of Glendale, AZ (a western suburb of Phoenix) for its myriad subsidies of the Coyotes NHL hockey team. When Glendale finally had the chance to walk away several years ago, I (and many others) begged the town not to throw good taxpayer money after bad and re-sign some sort of subsidy agreement with the team. For you see, even after getting a stadium at taxpayer expense, the team still demands millions of dollars a year in operating subsidies to stay in town.
But the town insisted on throwing more taxpayer money at the group buying the Coyotes from the NHL out of bankruptcy. The problem was that there was a gap between the NHL's asking price ($200 million) and the team's value in AZ ($100 million). First, they tried to give them a direct subsidy, but the Goldwater Institute sued to stop that and won. So instead, the city buried the subsidy in a stadium management contract. Here is how I described this contract at the time it was signed:
The NHL came down to a price of $175 million, still $75 million or so above what the team is worth. The City had already sought arms-length bids for the stadium management contract, and knew that a fair market price for that contract would be $6 million per year. It ended up paying the buying group $15 million per year for the 15-year contract, representing a subsidy of $9 million a year for 15 years. By the way, the present value of $9 million over 15 years at 8% is... $75 million, exactly what was needed to make up the bid-ask gap. Again, I think the city almost had to do it, because the revenue stream it was protecting is likely higher than $9 million. But this is the kind of bad choices they saddled themselves with by building the stadium in the first place.
So only now that they have signed the contract and a private party has taken over the Coyotes based on the city's contract, Glendale is trying to unilaterally tear up the contract. They have some thin reed of a "conflict of interest" claim that is based on the overlap of payrolls for one guy between the City and the Coyotes by a couple of days. This seems like an absurd claim gen'd up just to try to solve Glendale's buyer's remorse. My gut feel is that it is never going to fly in court.
What a bunch of losers. You should never have signed the contract, but now that it is signed, you actually have an obligation to live by it, particularly since a private party paid $100 million extra for the team mainly on the strength of this contract.c If you want out, declare bankruptcy (which actually might not be too far away for the city).
Roger Goodell is the President of the NFL, and despite huge love for the NFL itself, Goodell is hated by many, even most, fans. At the NFL draft, which attacts arguably the biggest fans of the NFL, Goodell gets booed every time he walks on stage. One reason for this is the decision Goodell made a number of years ago to "police" player behavior. Tired of bad headlines about this or that player being involved in some sort of (alleged) criminal activity, Goodell decided to crack down. No longer was it enough that the criminal justice system had a process for punishing people who break the law, Goodell wanted the NFL to be seen to be layering on extra punishment.
I said from the very beginning that this policy was fraught with problems. If the NFL wanted a conduct policy, it should establish simple mechanical rules tied to outcomes in the justice system. For example, a rule that says that if convicted of a misdemeanor a player would get a standard X game suspension. Goodell's role should be limited to correcting the inevitable unfair situation where mechanical rules lead to poor outcomes.
But no, Goodell, like many smart people, fell into the trap of thinking he was smart enough to mete out punishments himself. This has led to a real mess. The public compares each punishment (and non-punishment) to all other such decisions and immediately get upset about perceived inconsistencies. Worse, having established the precedent of policing conduct, he is being pushed by various vocal constituencies to police even non-crimes, like unwelcome speech. On average day in sports talk radio, you are as likely to hear a discussion of Goodell's conduct rulings as you are about anything on the field.
In taking over Reddit, Ellen Pao is heading into the same technocratic trap. She has begun to ban certain forums and types of speech on the platform, but she has not established any consistent public rules for doing so other than her own judgement. She appears to be deleting things that offend her personally (and early mass deletions of content critical of herself personally seems a really bad way to start). And as with Goodell, two bad things are already happening (even beyond the more fundamental Reddit user issue that she is violating a core ethic of Reddit by censoring). First, she is being called out for lack of consistency with folks saying "how can you ban X and not Y." And second, she is apparently already getting pushed by various constituencies to be more and more aggressive at censoring certain classes of speech. Once she established herself as censor in chief, she became an immediate lobbying target for many, many groups, and that is going to just get worse. Just look at how much of Goodell's time is now sucked up into personal conduct issues.
Being told that there is corruption and bribery in FIFA is a bit like being told there is organized crime involved in New Jersey garbage hauling. But it is nice to see some progress being made in rooting it out.
If I read this right, there apparently already is a rule in baseball that the pitcher must throw every 12 seconds. If true, that has to be the most ignored rule since the 55 MPH speed limit.
When the bases are unoccupied, the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball. Each time the pitcher delays the game by violating this rule, the umpire shall call “Ball.”
One of the traditions of college football is that rabid student fans will paint their face, and sometimes whole body, in school colors. So when some ASU students painted their face black (the school's uniform color for the last several years) for a college football game, one would expect that people would take this as an entirely normal event, an expression of school loyalty. One would NOT expect that people would immediately assume the face-painting was some sort of racist statement. I mean, really, you wouldn't expect the rules to be different just because the school's uniform color happened to be black, right?
Well, you would be wrong. In this hyper-sensitive world of people SEEKING to be offended, people got offended.
PS - when our Coyote's hockey team makes the playoffs, they have a thing called a "white out" where everyone dresses in white, face paints in white, etc. Next time they make the playoffs (which may be a while), I think I am going to be offended.
As a former hater, I have really enjoyed the World Cup this year. I think an unsung part of why so many people have been coming around in the States is having ESPN broadcast every game, instead of just seeing two or three here. Seeing all the games lets one start getting to know the players and the teams, develop favorites, etc.
However, like most Americans, I do find it, at best, humorous to watch folks act like they have been gut-shot every time someone brushes their jersey. I talked to a friend of mine who used to manage NHL teams, and said that it would be funny to do a parody with ice hockey players falling and writhing on the ground every time they were touched. There would be 10 guys laying on the ice in about 30 seconds.
Not quite the same idea, but I thought this parody was pretty funny
I friend sent me a note analyzing data on NFL quarterbacks past and present, and came up with this top five based on a points system that ranked the top 40 all time quarterbacks on a number of dimensions, such that the lowest score is the best:
1. Joe Montana - 54 Points1. Tom Brady - 54 Points3. John Elway - 68 Points4. Terry Bradshaw - 84 Points5. Peyton Manning - 86 Points
- He is the most interesting guy in the history of the NFL before the ball is snapped. This is a criteria I never would have thought even existed 10 years ago. But Peyton has made watching the team at the line of scrimmage before the play starts totally compelling. No one in history is even close. Think of all the great quarterbacks in history -- you think of them throwing, right? With Montana, for example, I see those slants to Jerry Rice, hitting him in stride. Now, how do you picture Peyton? Yelling Omaha at the line of scrimmage.
- He is money in advertisements and live appearances (e.g. Saturnday Night Live). Have you seen Joe Montana's and Farvre's ads? Stiff. How much better would Peyton have been in There's Something About Mary? Only Bradshaw is close.
Peyton gets dinged for being a poor bad-weather quarterback. I am not sure if the numbers support this hypothesis, but he would have to go a long way to being worse than Aikman was. I was in Dallas during their three Aikman-era superbowls (actually I lived in Denver for their 2, and St Louis for theirs, and Arizona for theirs, all of which is payback for growing up an Oiler fan). Aikman always disappointed in bad weather. The one year of their four year run in the 90's that they did not go to the Superbowl, they lost to SF in the Conference championships. That day, the moment I saw it was raining, I knew the Cowboys were doomed.
You may have seen the recent Wall Street Journal Story about the financial fiasco that is Glendale Arizona.
Here's the Republic's take on it.
Glendale ranked second in the U.S., according to the story, thanks to a $26.6 million negative fund balance at the close of fiscal 2012, due largely to sports-related debt.
Glendale has made a lot of mistakes, but I think that there is near universal agreement that the critical error was their decision to build the hockey arena.
Greg Patterson went back and looked at what the Arizona Republic was writing before the Glendale deals went so noticeably bad. I have written before about how the media goes into full cheerleader mode on those crony stadium deals.
Before Glendale bankrupted itself to subsidize the hockey team, Scottsdale was offered the "opportunity" to do so and turned it down. The local paper Arizona Republic excoriated Scottsdale for passing on the chance to subsidize rich sports team owners, saying that "Once-in-a-lifetime projects are just that". Here is the best quote from the 2004 Republic editorial:
Our view is that Scottsdale's mishandling of the arena idea was a leadership blunder of biblical proportions. Enough with the blame game. We hope that Scottsdale at least has learned some tough lessons from the disaster.
And this is classic:
Some city officials seemed content to nitpick, complain, second-guess and haggle over details. They're right to be diligent. Certainly nobody endorses a Pollyanna-ish panel of rubber-stampers. But at the same time, people who are forever looking for stuff to complain about always seem to find it.
I bet Glendale wishes it had more second-guessers on its city council. The whole thing is worth reading.
Postscript: This is one recommendation from the Republic I can agree with:
Think twice about ever launching a redevelopment effort like this again. Sensing that the Los Arcos Mall area was hurting economically, the council formed the Los Arcos Redevelopment District in December 1995. The council adopted a redevelopment plan the following July, and the Ellman Cos. subsequently acquired the 42-acre site. Not too surprisingly, Ellman was the only one to answer the city's request for proposals.
Ellman owns the Los Arcos property. That gives him a lot of advantages, including a position of negotiating authority. It allows him to stoke political outrage by wearing down the patience of neighbors who would like to see something built on this key corner. Got a great idea about what should be done at Los Arcos? Too bad. Ellman still owns it. Condemnation is not a viable political or financial course for the city, and Ellman knows it.
Redevelopment almost always means "crony giveaway" nowadays.
Nothing seems to obsess general managers (and fans) as much as the home run. And with the steroid era (maybe) in the past, there are a lot fewer of those out there to find. Which means that given the perhaps irrationally high demand and the declining supply, the price for them is going to go up. Which is a very good reason to be skeptical of deals for power hitters.
Unfortunately, the Diamondbacks just can't quite get over their sense that they need more power on the team. So they have made a deal to acquire Mark Trumbo from the Angels. To my eye, Trumbo is the reincarnation of former Diamondback Mark Reynolds -- 30-35 home runs, a batting average south of .250, and nearly 200 strikeouts a year. I wouldn't take this kind of player if you gave him to me. He is an inning killer who manages to hit one out of the park every five games or so. I suppose he is cheap in money terms (has a couple of years until free agency) but we traded two good players who had down years last year. In stock market terms, we are selling at the bottom and buying at the top.
Today is the anniversary of what is probably the greatest moment in Arizona sports history. But it is also the occasion of the most precient bit of sports commentary I have ever heard. Watch this brief clip. Listen to Tim McCarver's comment just before the second pitch and then see what happens. He called it exactly.
I suppose we Arizonans are biased, but the whole game is one of the best baseball games I have ever watched. Randy Johnson relieving Curt Schilling. Mariano Rivera relieving Roger Clemens. You can watch it all here.
While fans can also purchase pink [NFL Branded] clothing and accessories to support the cause, a shockingly small amount of the fans' money is actually going towards cancer research.
According to data obtained from the NFL by Darren Rovell of ESPN, the NFL "takes a 25% royalty from the wholesale price (1/2 retail), donates 90% of royalty to American Cancer Society."
In other words, for every $100 in pink merchandise sold, $12.50 goes to the NFL. Of that, $11.25 goes to the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the NFL keeps the rest. The remaining money is then divided up by the company that makes the merchandise (37.5%) and the company that sells the merchandise (50.0%), which is often the NFL and the individual teams.
How is this "shockingly small"? A donation of 11.25% of the retail price, and 22.5% of the wholesale price, of a piece of clothing is a pretty hefty. What do they expect? All the author is doing is demonstrating his (her?) ignorance of retail and clothing net profit margins. In particular, how can you try to make the NFL the bad guy for donating 90% of the money they actually get? It's their program, they can't donate the clothing manufacturer's money.
And besides, the NFL should be congratulated for being open about the numbers -- there is often zero transparency in such charitable promotional programs. How much of the money in the last charity gala you attended do you think actually made it to the charity rather than just help fund the self-aggrandizement of their socialite sponsors?
The Red Zone channel from DirecTV. Basically the show's producers channel surf for you, flipping obsessively between as many as 8 simultaneous pro football games (sometimes with two split-screened at a time). My wife says she gets a headache from watching it even for a few minutes. But I think its awesome. I actually flip back and forth between the RZC and whatever game I have chosen to watch that day for extra hyperactive bonus points.
Arizona State University (ASU) has always had a certain niche in the college world, a niche best evidenced by their making both the top 10 party school and top 10 hottest women lists in the same year. President Michael Crow has done a fair amount to, if not reverse this image, at least add some academic cred to the university. ASU has been creeping up the USN&WR rankings, has a very serious and respected honors college (Barrett) and hosts the Origins conference each year, one of the most fun public education events I have attended.
But Michael Crow is now upset that another Phoenix area school has been given Division I status in sports, a for-profit college named Grand Canyon University. This could really hurt both ASU's athletic recruiting in the area as well as dilute its revenues. But in the supremely hypocritical world college athletics, he can't say that. Instead, he says (Via Tyler Cowen)
The conference's 12 presidents signed and delivered a letter dated July 10 urging the NCAA's Executive Committee to "engage in further, careful consideration" about allowing for-profit universities to become Division I members at the committee's August meeting. In the meantime, Pac-12 presidents decided at a league meeting last month not to schedule future contests against Grand Canyon while the issue is under consideration.
"A university using intercollegiate athletics to drive up its stock value -- that's not what we're about," Arizona State president Michael Crow said in a phone interview over the weekend. "... If someone asked me, should we play the Pepsi-Cola Company in basketball? The answer is no. We shouldn't be playing for-profit corporations."...
"Our presidents have a pretty clear view that athletics works for the broader benefit of the university," said Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott. "There's a discomfort with the idea that the sole accountability around athletics would be to a company that might use athletics as a marketing tool to drive stock price. There's a sense that changes the dynamics and accountability around athletics."
It is freaking hilarious to get lectured on accountability around athletics by the NCAA. This is an organization that has been making billions off unpaid workers for years, workers who think so much of the value of the compensation they do receive (a free education) that most of the best of them never complete it. I wrote more about the NCAA and athletes here. In short, though, all these schools use the athletic program to raise capital (in the form of donations), likely far more so than a private school's sports team would raise its stock value. Unless you grew up near the school, what do you know about well-known schools like Penn State, Ohio State, University of Miami, LSU, Alabama and even Notre Dame other than their athletics program?
Michael Crow reveals himself as just another incumbent that does not want competition.
In regards to Grand Canyon specifically, though, it would certainly appear that Crow, who's been spearheading the effort, is driven in part by protecting his own turf. Arizona State has long been the only Division I university in the Phoenix market. And in the bigger picture, it seems a bit self-righteous that the same group of presidents that in 2011 signed a $3 billion contract with ESPN and FOX -- and which last year launched a profitable television network of their own -- would play the "non-profit" card in calling out someone else's motives.
"It's different in the following sense," Crow said of the comparison. "Whatever income we generate from a television network goes to support the swimming team, the rowing team at Cal. We support thousands of athletes and their scholarships, their room-and-board, as part of the intercollegiate spirit of athletics. ... In the case of a for-profit corporation, those profits go to the shareholders."
His last point is a distinction without a difference. First, I am not sure it is true -- Grand Canyon also has other athletic programs that cost money but don't bring in revenue. They also have a women's swim team, for example. But who cares anyway? Why is a student interested in swimming more worthy of receiving football largess than an investor? Maybe Crow is worried that the people of Arizona that fund so much of his operations (and bloated overpaid administrative staff) might suddenly start wondering why they don't get a return for their investment as do GCU shareholders.
Postscript: Phil Knight at Oregon and Boone Pickens at Oklahoma State (to name just 2 examples) get an incredible amount of influence in the university due to the money they give to their football programs and the importance of the football programs to those schools. Boone Pickens says he has given half a billion dollars to OSU, half of which went to the football program. But it is clear he would not have given a dime if he had not been concerned with the football team's fortunes and the problem of his university's football team losing to other rich guy's teams. Is this really somehow better and cleaner than being beholden to equity markets?
The link in the original article is broken, so here is a better link to an article and video of how "non-profits" are spending their athletic money, on things like this palatial locker room for the Alabama football team that would make Nero's gladiators blush.
Several companies announced a new sensor product to keep track of the number and severity of blows to the head during sporting events like football. For a while now, I have been predicting such equipment (once invented) would become required in most sports, with at least younger kids' leagues setting maximum numbers above which a player might have to sit out for one or more games, sort of like mandatory pitch limits in little league.
The other day, the City of Glendale approved a deal which has the city subsidizing (more in a second) the buyers of the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team to get them to actually stay in town rather than move to Seattle. The deal is arguably better than deals it was offered in the past (it gets shares of parking and naming rights it did not have before) and may even be a rational deal given where it is today.
But that is the catch -- the phrase "where it is today." At some level it is insane for a city of 250,000 people to pony up even more subsidies for a team that has the lowest attendance in the league. The problem is that the city built the stadium in the first place -- a $300 million dollar palace for a metropolitan area that already had a major arena downtown and which was built (no disrespect to Glendale) on the ass-end of the metropolitan area, a good 90 minute round trip drive for the affluent Scottsdale and east-side corporate patrons who typically keep a sports franchise afloat.
Building this stadium was a terrible decision, and I and many others said so at the time. But once the decision was made, it drove all the future decisions. Because the hockey team is the only viable tenant to pay the rent in that building, the city rationally will kick back subsidies to the team to keep it in place to protect its rent payments and sales taxes from businesses supported by the team and the arena. The original decision to build that stadium has handcuffed Glendale's fiscal situation for decades to come. One can only hope that cities considering major stadium projects will look to Glendale's and Miami's recent experiences and think twice about building taxpayer funded facilities for billionaires.
The deal the other night to keep the team went down in the only way it could have. As I had written, the NHL was insisting on selling the team for its costs when it took it over in bankruptcy, which were about $200 million, which was well north of the $100 million the team was worth, creating a bid-ask gap. Several years ago, the city tried to just hand $100 million to a buyer to make up the gap, but failed when challenged by the Goldwater Institute. The only real avenue it had left was to pass the value over to the buyers in the form of an above-market-rate stadium management contract.
And that is what happened, and I guess I will say at least it was all moderately transparent. The NHL came down to a price of $175 million, still $75 million or so above what the team is worth. The City had already sought arms-length bids for the stadium management contract, and knew that a fair market price for that contract would be $6 million per year. It ended up paying the buying group $15 million per year for the 15-year contract, representing a subsidy of $9 million a year for 15 years. By the way, the present value of $9 million over 15 years at 8% is... $75 million, exactly what was needed to make up the bid-ask gap. Again, I think the city almost had to do it, because the revenue stream it was protecting is likely higher than $9 million. But this is the kind of bad choices they saddled themselves with by building the stadium in the first place.
My son's team the Lord Jeffs (simultaneously the worst and most awesome team name in college sports) made the NCAA baseball playoffs this year. Don't have a team to root for? Why not choose the one named after an early advocate of biological warfare against Native Americans?