News for 4/29/12

Good stuff:

  • The Kings arena deal was officially declared dead on Friday. Perhaps they were waiting for rigor mortis to fully set in. The team will stay for another year, after that? Who knows? I’m not generally a fan of boycott efforts, but if Kings fans really wanted to stick it to the Maloofs with both a fiscal and PR nightmare, they should boycott ALL games. The family may be struggling enough that a loss of $30-50 million in revenue could really hurt them, and force them to sell the team. That’s what the fans want, right?
  • Many readers are getting a buzz off the news that Angels’ owner Arte Moreno met with AEG recently. As Bill Shaikin writes, they’d have a long way to go before they started doing anything. Moreno’s a good businessman, and as a good businessman should he has to at least hear AEG out and get some kind of dialogue going. It won’t force the City of Anaheim to do anything, so the leverage play isn’t there – at least not right now. I wrote last week about AEG’s business model and goals for the LACC expansion-cum-NFL stadium, and how baseball isn’t really on AEG’s map. AEG has its own somewhat weak leverage play in that they want to push the NFL to make a move on their behalf, but as recent discussions between the two parties have revealed, the league is not easy to budge. The NFL can at any time revive the Roski/City of Industry plan and favor it over AEG’s concept, and it would have every right to do so. The NFL doesn’t care about AEG’s desire to hold the Final Four or BCS championship game there, or about AEG’s interest in expanding LACC. All they want is a new, Super Bowl-ready venue. AEG, on the other hand, would have to strain to make a downtown ballpark work within its convention center plans. Since AEG wants an indoor convention hall, the ballpark would require a retractable dome instead of open air. The field would have to be moved out like University of Phoenix’s field, yet there’s no space for such a field-on-a-tray. Because of the rather bespoke nature of a ballpark, it would be difficult to put in the flexible seating system AEG would need to hold the Final Four. Plus there’s the issue of not having enough seats for large football events. Baseball may provide 81+ annual events, but you can bet that the revenue share for AEG will not be beneficial enough to cover the debt service on the venue. There are few compatibilities between what Moreno wants and AEG’s goals. That makes a downtown ballpark a non-starter.
  • Minnesota lawmakers continue to work throughout the weekend on the tenets of a Vikings stadium plan. The big obstacle may be rank and file Democrats, many of whom who appear to have pledged to vote down any stadium proposal. Financing would come from a appropriations (state) bond, which means that debt would be serviced by an annual appropriation, to be paid back by gambling tax revenues and other sources. It’s certainly a “creative” public financing solution, though one that would never leave the budget committee in California.
  • Barclays Center in Brooklyn putting on an exhibition in October between the Islanders and Devils to test out the hockey configuration, which is suboptimal.

44 thoughts on “News for 4/29/12

  1. I’ve figured all along that Carson would be in play for the Angels, so that’s my guess as to what Moreno and AEG were discussing.

    • @Joe

      I’ve figured all along that Carson would be in play for the Angels, so that’s my guess as to what Moreno and AEG were discussing.

      That would be a terrible decision for the Angels. Have you been to Carson? The only reason the Angels would abandon their fan-base in the OC is to move downtown. They would not want to move to another suburb where they have no fans.

  2. “There are few compatibilities between what Moreno wants and AEG’s goals. That makes a downtown ballpark a non-starter.”
    .
    Will all due respect, you are making too many assumptions in making this statement.
    .
    If the NFL stadium falls through, it is possible that AEG and the city would be willing to use the site of the old north hall for non-convention center purposes. After all, the Staples Center was built without replacement of lost exhibition space.
    .
    A new image at the Farmers Field website suggests that the New Hall of the Convention Center has been designed efficiently enough to possibly mitigate the need for additional convention space:
    .
    http://aegtools.3cdn.net/f2ae4adce8cfdf16bd_446jmvade.jpg
    .
    The other reason your statement overreaches is that there are other locations in the central city area that could potentially serve as sites for a new ballpark. If the site of the North Hall is deemed unsuitable, AEG and the Angels could team up to build a ballpark nearby, perhaps on Flower Street, just east of the Blue Line and new Expo Line.

  3. @Pudgie – Have you read the AEG/LACC EIR? There’s nothing in there to suggest that what you’re suggesting is remotely acceptable to AEG. The New Hall’s purpose is to replace the old West Hall, which is to be demolished per the plan. The stadium, which is called the Event Center in the documentation, is there primarily for the purpose of bringing in football and other sports events, and then to provide 250k s.f. of convention space so that it can be more competitive with other convention centers. There’s no good business reason for AEG to go to the trouble and expense of only replacing the West Hall with the New Hall if there’s no additional benefit via the Event Center. The stadium is part and parcel with the whole plan.

    If AEG wants to go stadium-hunting with Arte Moreno I’d love to see it. I’m not going to hold my breath. Just like any other stadium plan, it has to pencil out for both parties. If you can explain how it works financially for AEG, I’m all ears.

  4. No big surprise on SAC. I wouldn’t say I know a lot about the situation — I don’t — but it sure seams like the Maloofs want out of SAC. I don’t know if I can blame them fully. A pro team in SAC is guaranteed to be on the lower half of value. The Kings are a business and most owners of today are about increasing value (for better or worse). Further, being a team in Cali means they will be ponying up more money than most other states for an extra revenue friendly place to play. However, it also sure seems the Maloofs are going about business in a shady way (are they getting advice from the Giants?). That’s unfortunate for the fans of SAC. For a, relatively speaking, small metropolitan area, there have been years that the Kings were nearing the top in attendance. That says to me SAC fans are passionate about the Kings. And it sure seems like SAC was extending themselves pretty far out to make a new stadium happen (obviously not getting advice from Oakland).
    At this point was is left for SAC to keep Kings? Does SAC have to pay for virtually everything related to the new stadium? That doesn’t seem likely (and they shouldn’t). The Maloofs will sell to a SAC-phile owner? Unless the NBA forces the sale that doesn’t seem likely. So what’s left other than the Kings? That’s too bad for SAC fans….

  5. @ TW – The bottom line is that the owners of the Kings (the Maloofs) are broke. Not just millionaire-in-a-club-of-billionaire broke, but truly dead-ass broke. They owe the city $67M on the current Arco arena loan, and it has since come out that they are already into the league for approximately $130M on a line of credit. The NBA is still handling the staffing costs for season ticket renewals, and their staffing is roughly one-half what a normal NBA team’s would be. They were handed an arena deal where their portion, $73M, was going to be paid for by the league in the form of a $7M gift and a $67M credit line from the NBA to be paid back from (presumed) increased gate receipts. New arena, no out-of-pocket – and they rejected it. Why? Because even that amount of a loan would cut into their revenue sharing, which is the only thing keeping the Maloofs from collectively declaring bankruptcy. They tried to move last year but they got rejected, and the league will not let them move to Anaheim for the 2014 season after what they just pulled a few weeks ago. They have publicly stated that they will not sell, but they want the City to assist them with a renovation of Arco – and the City has informed the Maloofs that, since they “own” Arco free and clear (besides the pesky $67M loan), they are welcome to renovate the existing building to their heart’s content but without help from the City – which they cannot afford to do. Good times if you’re a Kings fan.

  6. TW, Sacramento can’t and shouldn’t do anything else. They’ve already offered to pay 3/4 of the total cost of a new arena and the Maloofs still fucked it up. Ostensibly because they’re out of money. They can’t even throw in the 1/4 cost they were left with. Now they want their current privately owned arena to be renovated 100% on the city’s dime. It won’t happen. The only future for the Kings in Sac at this point is if the Maloofs sell to someone like Ron Burkle. Otherwise they’re gone. And that’s for the best. No city should be saddled with owners as bad as Joe, George, and Gavin Maloof.

  7. Islanders-Devils at Brooklyn has been known for a while. But they already know the place will only seat about 14,500 for hockey, which would make it the smallest building in the NHL. Not sure how many of those will be obstructed seats, too. (Isles, like the A’s, have been trying and failing for years to get a new building) While the Winnipeg Jets are selling out with 15,000 seats only, it doesn’t seem like the Isles can get by with only that many seats.

  8. I saw a Coyotes game at America West – right in the obstructed-view seats. Watch the oncoming skaters reach the blue line, then move your eyes up to the TV monitors overhead because you couldn’t see anything beyond the blue line at that end of the ice. Maybe if Ratner (who built the Brooklyn arena) had known the Isles were going to be there for easy pickings he wouldn’t have downsized the building to save a few million $$. Of course, all this happened when the economy was being devastated.

  9. Angels moving to Downtown LA is really just a weak threat by both AEG and Moreno to get their respective potential partners to go their way (NFL and Anaheim). There is no way I see the Angels moving into LA county. Far from it, it makes more sense for them to be in Anaheim perhaps with a new stadium in the next 15 years. They are going to have the cash to do it. There isn’t a big desire to bring a second baseball team to LA, some people want NFL some people want the Galaxy and Chivas also to move for MLS, plus they can attract the huge crowds from futbol friendlies that typically go to the Coliseum or the Rose Bowl. A football stadium is the only thing that makes sense because you can also move soccer to cover other play datas as ML points out, the convention space. You already see E2 there, could also draw ComicCon and other huge conventions there, that is the bread and butter of AEG.

    Moreno may push for a new stadium but he is probably going to have to pay for it himself. With that TV contract down the road he may have that money, but while he adds Los Angeles to his team’s name, beyond that contract its going to be hard for him to beat the Dodgers in marketing. McCourt gave him a window to pounce on Dodgers, but now with the renewed roster and new ownership that is loved in LA (Magic), the Dodgers have closed that window. Angels are smarter to stick to building from their base in Orange and Riverside Counties.

  10. Craig Calcaterra pulled out this quote from AEG’s Tim Leiweke last year:

    “Under no circumstances are we interested in building a baseball stadium. If you logically just think through playing baseball games in April, May and June when we have Lakers, Clippers and Kings playoff games that are scheduled on a week’s notice. Look at the conflict that would be created during that time. If you logically think through baseball playoff games which are scheduled on a week’s notice and we have Kings, Lakers and Clippers beginning their season, it doesn’t work.”

    So there’s a logistical problem as well.

  11. Of course, I’m tempted to say, MLB wouldn’t possibly hurt the A’s even more by dumping the Giants series, but I’m reminded of a scene in a Marx Bros movie where Groucho pushes his girlfriend out of a small rowboat. She asks him to throw her the lifesaver. So he pulls out a roll of candy LifeSavers from his pocket and tosses here one. MLB = Groucho; A’s = drowning girlfriend.

  12. Overheard Saturday night on BART coming from Civic Center SF to Bay Fair in the East Bay:
    —————————————————————————————————————————–
    Lady #1 (in street clothes): You’re coming from the game, eh?
    Lady #2 (in full Giants gear): Yeah, it was a good game tonight.
    Lady #1: I’m an A’s fan since I was a little kid.
    Lady #2: I used to be the BIGGEST A’s fan, my daddy used to take me to so many games. I grew up in Fremont.
    Lady #1: How come you switched?
    Lady #2: Well, we work in SF (points to her companion across the aisle, Lady #3), and to be honest that’s depressing, the whole situation is depressing.
    Lady #1: What’s that?
    Lady #2: THAT. (Points out window at Coliseum as train pulls into that station). Plus they don’t ever hang onto their players and being there just makes me feel sad about how it used to be, how I remember it as a kid.
    Lady #1: I still go, I won’t stop supporting them.
    Lady #2: I want to, but when I’ve been in the last few years — I went to a few games last season, took my daughter — it just seems like an empty shell.
    Lady #1: I hear you, I hear you.
    Lady #2: I mean I LOVE the A’s, but it’s supposed to be fun and it isn’t anymore. It’s like they’re dead or sleeping or something, I can’t explain it. It makes me cry when I think of my dad.
    Lady #1: He passed?
    Lady #2: Yeah.
    ——————————————————————————————————————————
    Lady # 1 exited at San Leandro station, and I at Bay Fair… I presume Lady #2 exited at Fremont. Both these ladies looked to me to be over 45 years old, with the the Giants ladies being white and the A’s lady being African-American, for whatever that’s worth. I think the Giants ladies might have been over 50, slightly older than the A’s lady but not by much. Needless to say, I was transfixed.

  13. @Emperor Interesting conversation. Pretty sad, as well.

  14. Great news for the A’s and those fans who go to spring training. HoHoKam is a much nicer, more modern park compared to poor old Phoenix Muni with things like the actual scoreboard, the grass seating, a more extensive roof, etc… And Fitch Park which still not at the same locale of the stadium is also a nicer complex that is in much better shape than Papago Park where even basics like plumbing aren’t very good.
    .
    Bad news however about the cross-town rivalries falling by the wayside. I always felt that was the best thing about interleague play. With it gone or diminished the whole interleague concept loses some of its appeal. And yes it will hurt the A’s attendance considering those Giants games every year are some of the highest attended games and most interesting games.

  15. @David,
    Damn!…I guess the city of SJ will now be forced to transfer the Diridon plots to the state, and the A’s (by default) will be forced to work with Oakland. (LOL! would be an understatement)

  16. Guess we knew the state would try to come for the Red-Dev land eventually so that douchebag Jerry Brown could take one last swipe at the A’s. Guess the Diridon land will probably end up in court like everything else does these days. Still not great news for the San Jose ballpark. And with Oakland still nothing but a pipe dream, not good news for the A’s staying in the Bay Area.
    .
    It’s news like this on days like today that make me wonder why I even bother rooting for the A’s anymore (not unlike Emperor Nobody’s Lady #2, though I’d sooner cut my left nut off than root for the Giants). It really isn’t that fun anymore and hasn’t been all that fun for the better part of a decade. But the last 5 years have been really bad with the on field suck AND the off field glacially paced drama thanks to Bud Selig, the Giants and now the broke ass state.

  17. @David/Tony – The properties were transferred to a “third party” in April, the San Jose Diridon Development Authority, with the option to sell to Wolff signed in November. If the state wants to challenge the legality of SJDDA, that’s up to them.

  18. Oakland’s A’s stadium plan remains: Force the owners to spend their own money to build in Oakland. Sounds like a reasonable “partnership.”

  19. ML, only issue is the SJDDA is a public entity, not a private one. Which means the land transfers happened 4 months too late from the SJRDA to the SJDDA. The Wolff option also wasn’t granted until November 2011, which was also 5 months after the 3rd party deadline. Now I’m sure the state would have to actually make a move to come after the properties if they want them, but do we honestly think they won’t?

  20. If San Jose loses the Diridon site, looks like Wolff has to move the ballpark over to the Coleman Ave site next to the soccer stadium. Great highway access. Lots of room for parking. CalTrain right there. The notion that ownership is going to be forced to build in Oakland is wishful thinking by some folks…

  21. I say Wolff do a land swap with Barry Swenson; iStar/Edenvale for Brandenburg/North San Pedro. A hypothetical ballpark at NSP would still be a boon for Swenson holdings and development aspirations around San Pedro Square. OK, enough of that; time to chill…

  22. I’m deleting the Brown-related posts due to irrelevance.

    There are two outcomes for Wolff and San Jose. The state would probably have to sue to get the land moved to the successor agency. If the state loses, the land price discount stays enshrined. If they win, the state would have to sell the land anyway to fund the budget, but the land would have to be sold at auction or at market value. In the end, Wolff gets the land anyway.

    This is all a chess match. Try to look more than one step ahead.

  23. Not exactly news, but: Barton sucks. That is all. Thank you.

  24. ML: Aren’t the “Better Sense San Jose” folks – the same ones who oppose the arena – insisting that office builders will be lining up to bid on the ballpark property? (Meanwhile, I see more “Available” signs appearing on existing downtown office towers as well as on what used to be the McAfee buildings off 101 in Santa Clara. Yes, more empty office buildings is what we need.)

  25. @pjk – No, they only argue that office/commercial is a better use for the land, in the form of a corporate campus. Of course, they also know that historically that has required RDA subsidies – money that no longer exists.

  26. @pjk,
    There are many an empty lot in downtown San Jose that are slated for future office/commercial/residential development. Alas, they remain empty lots, with no construction imminent or in sight. R.M.s right; Wolff will get that Diridon land regardless. Heck, he might even get a bigger discount via a hypothetical state auction (vs. city discount). Wouldn’t that be funny!

  27. Anyone see the Nets’ new logo? I think it looks pretty slick. Similarly, I’d like to see the A’s go with a cleaner look once they move into their new digs.

  28. Thanks for the links, letsgoas. Would the A’s really be that lazy to only replace Oakland with San Jose? I’m not even sure that many fans love their jerseys and logos. The “A’s” emblem and their colors are iconic, but that’s about it.

    .

    I guess you could argue their current home whites are a throw back to the 1950s, but so what. No one gave or gives a shit about the 1955-1960s KC Athletics.

  29. there are quite a few teams have that have the circular design with the city/team in the outer circle with the login the middle. bos, sea, sf, sd, tex for example.

    one thing i wouldn’t mind is if the a’s wore green cleets with their road unis, always thought the white cleens with grey road unis aren’t a good luck. great with the classic all white unis though.

    also wouldn’t mind if they go back to wearing a color scheme more like this or at least wear them on home sunday games as many teams do in mlb, wear throwbacks on certain days of the week mainly at home.

    http://i.cdn.turner.com/sivault/multimedia/photo_gallery/0806/mlb.throwback.uniforms/images/athletics.jpg

  30. I like their vest jerseys with old english lettering too. Getting back to the Nets, there’s something really appealing about the clean, minimal vibe their new look emits. I’m not saying I want the A’s to get that minimal, but less is more and there’s nothing particularly striking about their current look besides their gold alternates, which I love.

  31. The Nets new logo immediately made me think of the Raider shield. It’s pretty sweet.

  32. Although Barclays only seats 14,500 for hockey I think that is going to work for a few reasons:

    1. Nassau lacks premium seating in the worst way. They have currently only 153 clubs seats and 32 luxury suites. Barclays will have 104 luxury suites and 1000s of club seating that will not be obstructed.

    2. The Islanders have not averaged 14,500 fans a game in Long Island since 2002-2003 when they in the middle of making the playoffs 3 straight years. In 2003-2004 they averaged 13,693 and that was after making the playoffs the previous years.

    3. As barteby has pointed out in the past, premium seating is far more important to revenue streams than overall capacity. Therefore moving to a 14,500 seat arena for hockey is relative to the amount of premium seating in general which Barclays has plenty of, even for hockey.

    ML is right in the past about how America West had obstructed views and was not suitable. I think in this case to the contrary for the reasons I have stated above.

    Barclays would be a huge upgrade for the Islanders and the Brooklyn site is only 31.7 miles from the current location on Long Island.

    Therefore Islanders fans can still take public transportation or drive to the games if need be.

    In the end, the Islanders need to sell premium seating in order to be successful and Barcalys despite its limited capacity does offer that.

    My prediction is the Islanders will be playing there in 2015 when their lease ends or perhaps sooner if owner Charles Wang can get out of his lease.

    I am shocked Wang did not partner with the Ratner in the first place on this project…..I do understand he wanted to keep the team in Long Island but he should have used it as leverage at the very least.

  33. Apologies….Some of the suite views and/or premium seating may be obstructed but even so it would be a far upgrade from Nassau.

  34. “I do understand he wanted to keep the team in Long Island”
    .
    Brooklyn is in Long Island.

  35. @bartelby- Brooklyn is in New York City and in a different county as Nassau. If you want to get technical you can say it is the same “Long Island” but clearly it is not…

  36. @Sid “Brooklyn is in New York City and in a different county as Nassau. If you want to get technical you can say it is the same “Long Island” but clearly it is not”
    .
    OK, but you didn’t say he wanted to keep the team in the same city or same county, you said Long Island. Brooklyn is on Long Island, same as Uniondale. Not a particularly important point, I’m just sayin’…

  37. @ Bartleby: Don’t be “that” guy.

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