News for 2/5/12

Lots of got stuff for y’all to digest (along with your Super Bowl feast) today:

  • Two Bay Area sports families are at odds. According to Matier and Ross, the heirs to former Warriors owner Franklin Mieuli are suing the York family over the value of a 5% minority share of the 49ers. The Yorks say the team’s only worth $360 million, making the stake’s value only $18 million. The Mieuli heirs are pointing to Forbes’ recent valuation of the 49ers, $990 million, and want to sell the stake 5% of that valuation, or $49.5 million. Considering how the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars were sold two months ago for $760 million, you have to think the Yorks will come out on the losing end of this or settle before any trial begins.
  • The Detroit News has a new profile of Tigers and Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch. During his tenure as Tigers owner, Ilitch went from miser to saint. What changed? Strategic moves to properly build a team and bring in free agent talent after a new ballpark was built. It’s a clear case of a ballpark not being the panacea, but rather the foundation upon which a competitive team can be built, rebuilt, and sustained.

“They had an old ballpark in Tiger Stadium that was self-limiting in terms of attendance and revenue. There would be a Catch-22 to Ilitch’s early years: Until he got a new ballpark, he could not subsidize big contracts. Once he got a new ballpark, he was stuck with a bad team and heavy debt.

The combination punch was a haymaker, at least in the early years after Comerica Park opened in 2000.

But by late 2003, after the team had bottomed out, Ilitch made a series of Red Wings-caliber moves.

He expanded payroll at the same time a new front office was about to chart an upward plan in strategies that, coupled with investments in Rodriguez, Ordonez, etc., fueled a baseball revival in Detroit.

Once the stimulus package was in place, team fortunes — and revenues — soared.”

  • The Marlins are laying down grass at their 97%-complete ballpark, and they plan to grow it long to support an aggressive running team.
  • A San Francisco-based hedge fund manager, Christopher Hansen, is aiming to buy the Sacramento Kings and move them to his hometown, Seattle, where he and city leaders are working on a new arena deal. Two reports are in from the Sacramento Bee and the Seattle Times.
  • Yet another plan to replace the Metrodome is being “fast-tracked” through the Minnesota legislature. The plan would require playing as few as two games at the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium after the Metrodome was torn down and while the new stadium was being built.
  • Did you know that Reno-Tahoe is putting together a bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics? A group has formed to explore a possible bid. Reno-Tahoe may be competing with Denver for the honor of representing the US for the 2022 games. Denver would seem to have the advantage in terms of facilities, though the distance between Denver and the region’s best ski resorts in Vail/Beaver Creek and Breckenridge is pretty long (though that didn’t stop Vancouver, whose 2-hour trip to Whistler was even longer). Preliminary cost estimates for the bids are around $1.5 billion, which would be less than Vancouver’s 2010 effort.
  • For some unknown reason, secondary ticket prices for today’s Super Bowl are down 50% compared to last year, even though the game is being played in a smaller venue.
  • The Nats are trying out a “Take Back the Park” campaign, in which they are pre-selling tickets to a single April series between the Nats and Phillies. The catch? They’re only selling to buyers with DC/VA/MD addresses, verified via credit card records. The Phillies, whose own ballpark is frequently sold out, often have fans take the 2.5-hour trip down I-95 or Amtrak to the District to catch their team drub (maybe not for much longer) the Nats.

That’s all I got. Enjoy the game.

30 thoughts on “News for 2/5/12

  1. ” For some unknown reason, secondary ticket prices for today’s Super Bowl are down 50% compared to last year, even though the game is being played in a smaller venue. ”

    ” known reason ” : it’s being held in fly-over country ( and even worse , in the leafless winter ) : Indianapolis

  2. Looks like Indy put on a pretty good Super Bowl, though. Al Michaels mentioned that all the events were within walking distance, like New Orleans. That will a problem for Santa Clara/San Francisco.

  3. are the maloofs even interested in selling the kings? at this point key arena would probably make a better overall home than arco, power balance or whatever the name of sac’s arena is now. it has got to be killing sea fans to seeing durant and the thunder possibly being a legit championship contender this season and for many years to come.

    nba def should move back to sea and either the kings, hornets, or even the grizz could be teams looking to move in the near future. hopefully one of those teams moves to sj so bay area basketball fans have somebody else to root for other than the dogmeat franchise that is known as the w’s.

    oh yeah go nyg! screw you boston sports fans!

  4. pretty hard to convince your wife to take a winter vacation to scenic uh……..indianapolis…….

    trust me, florida, arizona, or southern california are a lot easier sells to the Mrs.

  5. as a sacto area native….the maloofs have to go, regardless of the future of the kings….I am completely, 100% against the city selling or leasing property to subsidize an arena for this ownership group……budget strapped cities like sacramento cannot be marrying themselves to questionable business enterprises for 50+ years for emotional, rather than rational reasons!

  6. Reportedly the Maloofs are out of cash…

  7. The rumors deepen. Looks like the Seattle arena is also drawing interest in the Phoenix Coyotes as well.

  8. Just my opinion, but I think Seattle would be a better NHL market than Phoenix.

  9. The Kings to Seattle thing is an extreme long shot. It’s just some hedge fund manager with a pipe dream. At this point, there is no plan, financial or otherwise, for getting an arena built in Seattle – just people talking/wishing about it.
    The financing plan, as well as the design, for a new arena in Sacramento is just about in place. The selling of public parking garages to private interests is just one component to the package. It will also include money from owner/operators – probably AEG, as well as ticket surcharges, as well as money kicked in by private investors, as well as money kicked in by the Maloofs. Everyone is on board at this point, and the parking part has to go to vote, with it looking like it will pass by an easy margin.
    The NBA greatly prefers to keep the Kings in Sac – that’s why Sac was given one more year to put the above package together. The Maloofs had one foot in the door in Anaheim, but Kevin Johnson was able to come up with a substantial financial commitment from local businesses to purchase luxury boxes and seats, in order to keep the Kings in Sac, as well as the preliminary plan to put together a package to finance the new Arena. The NBA listened, and were quite happy to grant another year. The Sacramento fans are great for the NBA.
    After all that, there’s no way the NBA would look at Seattle for the Kings. Possibly the Hornets, because they’re without an owner. But not the Kings. If the financing package for a the new arena in Sac falls through, then the Kings will move to Anaheim, because that’s where all the leg work has already been done, and where the money is ready. But it looks like the financing package for the new Arena is going to happen.

  10. @jeff-athletic- I have to disagree with you on the Kings staying in Sac….It is rare we disagree on much! Ha!

    The estimates from selling the parking are greatly overestimated. When Bank of America did its analysis the #s came far short of the 200M the city is touting. 200M in itself is a pipe dream, a more realistic # is 100M-120M.

    Now take that from 400M (total cost of the arena without overruns) and you have 280M-300M left to finance. How is this going to materialize? The Maloofs have zero $$. These spoiled rich kids blew it during the recession on bad investments and now are crying poor and actually with good reason. They are poor for NBA owners standards and would not be granted a team in this day and age.

    The NBA has never and will never pitch in $$ for a new arena in any market. The owners already have issues $$ wise between small market and big market teams so no hope there.

    Perhaps another 50M from AEG and another 50M from luxury suites etc….You are still easily 180M-200M short…..If all goes well 100M-120M short.

    The Maloofs and the NBA will not cover debt service like the 49ers and NFL are in Santa Clara. Why? Because Santa Clara sits in a big market where corporations and affluent fans exist.

    Unlike Sacramento where are all the rich people don’t even live in the same county where the Kings are trying to build in and without multi-county partnering they cannot contribute to the cause.

    The Kings are done in Sacramento, Kevin Johnson is just delaying the inevitable and saving his own behind for re-election.

    I see the Kings in Anaheim if not in 2012-2013 but for sure in 2013-2014. In which case it opens up San Jose for a team and a shared TV deal with the Warriors that covers all of the Nor Cal from Salinas to Eureka.

    As for Seattle, they need a miracle. San Jose has a modern arena while they do not. It will take a both a NHL and NBA team moving there to make something happen…..Too many moving parts in my opinion.

  11. I forgot to add, only way Sac keeps the team is a public handout of some type for 100M-150M…..No way otherwise.

  12. Sid, I think you overestimate how much a draw the SJ Arena would be to an NBA team. It’s not “modern” in the sense that it isn’t one of the top arenas in NBA friendly design. Never has been, and that’s without considering it’s nearly 20 years old now. And the territorial issues with the Warriors are also an obstacle to be overcome for any incoming NBA team.

    Seattle meanwhile seems to be working on something that might just come to fruition, with or without an NHL team. Add in the bonus incentive on the NBA’s part that they must put a team back in Seattle in the next year or so lest they pay off the city for stealing the Sonics… Particularly when the NBA is currently holding on to a team in New Orleans that has no owner, and no real interest from anyone outside Larry Ellison.

    I do agree however that the Kings chances of remaining in Sac are not good lest they can somehow make that overestimated parking scheme work. Otherwise there are apparently two options now, though Anaheim being the ready made one.

  13. While I don’t think an NBA team will be moving to SJ anytime soon, I certainly wouldn’t consider territorial issues with the Warriors much of an obstacle. Unlike MLB, the NBA doesn’t have an antitrust exemption.

  14. @Sid
    Some counter points:
    “The Maloofs have zero $$.” –
    Actually, after selling most of their Palms assets, they are mostly debt free, and are cash flow positive, and are capable of further financing. That said, they are “poor” by NBA owner standards. In the long run, they may have to sell.
    “The NBA has never and will never pitch in $$ for a new arena in any market”. –
    The NBA has been actively involved in the entire process. It seems reasonable to assume that if the NBA is active in the process, and the NBA was not willing to loan part of the money, then it would never be mentioned.
    “The Maloofs and the NBA will not cover debt service like the 49ers and NFL are in Santa Clara. ” –
    Both have already said they would.
    “Unlike Sacramento where are all the rich people don’t even live in the same county where the Kings are trying to build in and without multi-county partnering they cannot contribute to the cause. ” –
    Much of Sacramento’s wealthiest live in places like Granite Bay and Roseville (Placer county), and Folsom and El Dorado Hills (El Dorado County with EDH, Sac county with Folsom). Each of these areas have a huge Kings fan base, and the Kings regularly draw from these areas. It’s not a huge geographical divide.
    “The Kings are done in Sacramento, Kevin Johnson is just delaying the inevitable and saving his own behind for re-election. ” –
    No doubt KJ is a politician trying to cover his behind (like any politician), but all reports are indicating the deal is going to get done.
    You make logical points, but points coming from the perspective of wanting the Kings to leave Sacramento, opening up opportunity to put a team in HP Pavillion.

  15. The Tahoe Olympic bid has been rumored since Heavenly started redeveloping everything near stateline. It would sure be nice to see that big hole in the ground that was supposed to be convention center space finally get filled. An Olympic bid would be a perfect catalyst to make that happen.

  16. This blog has been very educational and enlightening. It really goes into detail all of the politics and money and machinations to getting a new sports facility built.
    One thing that is particularly heartening, is that the use of public funds is pretty much a thing of the past. For one, people (and governments, and politicians) are realizing that a new sports facility is not necessarily the economic booster it is often promised to be. Thus, real ROI for tax payers is sometimes a pipe dream.
    People in Cali and the west coast in general have long realized this – just look at privately financed gnats ballpark. Just look at voters of Seattle saying “no way to public funds for sports facilities”.
    This is the way it should be. Pro sports is big, big business, that generates literally billions in revenues, and top athletes are millionaires many times over, and franchises are owned by multi-billionaires. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that sports franchises shouldn’t pay for their own facilities, either putting out capital for construction themselves, or someone else does it and the franchise leases out to the landlord. This is how all other businesses have to operate, why shouldn’t sports franchises?
    More and more, it seems the rest of the country is moving in this direction. Heck, even the new humongous Cowboys stadium (palace) is privately financed (with apparently ridiculous PSLs, surcharges, and the like). Some publicly financed stadiums have been built. But all of those were prior to the 08 collapse. Since then, if I recall correctly, none have been build with public funds (unless it was already approved and financed pre-collapse.
    Maybe the insanity is a thing of the past. And savvy business people like Lew Wolff put together plans to privately finance stadiums.

  17. @jeff-athletic – I agree with you in terms sentiment, but I have to point out that the NFL demands some amount of public financing for every stadium project. It’s skin in the game to them. Cowboys Stadium got $300 million in loans from the City of Arlington, paid by a sales tax hike. At least here we’re not crazy enough to allow for general tax hikes (sales, property) to pay for stadia. That’s what makes us different from other states.

    @Dude – Interesting. Would they put the Olympic Village on South Shore even if the indoor events happen in Reno?

  18. I don’t use public libraries, don’t go to the parks, don’t own a car so I don’t use roads… pro sports are a huge part of my life. The fact that pro sports in America are driven by largely for-profit entities is a historical accident. I for one would gladly pay taxes to subsidize a new stadium. A new stadium would enrich my life much more than most other taxpayer-funded projects. Panem et circenses, as someone once said. Why must we always kowtow to the holier-than-though, sports-hating segment of the population? Why do they get their opera houses and arthalls but a new stadium? Fuggedaboutit.

  19. @Al In all fairness, orders of magnitude more public money in this country gets spent on sports stadia than opera houses.
    Also, the argument for spending public money on high culture venues and organizations is that they enrich the culture but are unable to generate enough revenue to be self-supporting. Clearly the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL generate enough money to build their own venues.
    I’m a sports fan too, and would also vote to spend my tax dollars on a new venue for the A’s or Raiders. (Not the Niners because, well, f___ them). I also would get a lot more out of it than many other things the government spends money on. I’m just sayin’.

  20. I’m not totally averse to the use of public funds to subsidize stadium construction, so long as the public retain an ownership in stadium equal to their contribution of the stadiums construction….

    that said- I am totally against the city of sacramento subsidizing this particular ownership group!

    look up Marcos Bretons piece from yesterdays Sac Bee…It was eloquent and poingnant…..

    the aMaloofs can’t afford to own an ownership team and while the cityt of sacramento looks at seeling its valuable properties to appease them, the maloofs grasp at whatever straw it takes to retain their crumbling business empire

  21. Imho, saying ‘we won’t spend public money on stadia’ is just as foolish as saying ‘we will build stadia with all public money. Just please move/open the franchise in our city’. A city/county job should be to make wise investments.
    No income from a team/stadium? It just doesn’t pass the common sense test. For instance in Santa Clara, there will is a big infusion of cash from outside the county that will go to workers and businesses needed to build the stadium. That cash, that employment would not be there if the stadium is not built.
    The decision for public money for a stadium/arena comes down to a true and honest cost-benefit analysis. If a fair and reasonable (meaning no so called studies that come from those with an axe to grind) says the stadium/arena can be expected to bring in 5 million per year to the city but cost them 3 million in expenses such as fire/police etc etc, that is a 2 million dollar gross positive. The question is then what percentage does the city/county want to chip in for that 2 million in additional revenue? I fail to see why a city kicking in 500k a year for X amount of years is a bad idea when the gross ROI is 300% for that same amount of years.
    Cities and counties are too often not operating in a manner that makes these kind of logical decisions. If they did they would easily know when to say yes and when to say no to stadia, tax breaks for corporations bringing jobs in as well as a host of other things. Unfortunately for the general public, there almost always is a very small but highly motivated slice of the public that will use disinformation to cloud the issue simply because they viscerally dislike/like what the investment is being used for. One needs to look no further than the anti A’s to SJ crowd that continues to use blatant disinformation to attempt to kill that possibility.

  22. Good question. I haven’t seen that confirmed anywhere. Being a joint effort between California and Nevada, maybe that’s still open for debate. I’d like to see it in Tahoe for the scenery, but Reno can handle bigger crowds. Either way, I’m sure that along with completing the hotel/conference center in Tahoe, major investment would go into UNR’s facilities.

  23. I do see cities/counties/governments make sweetheart deals in order to attract big businesses. They give big tax breaks, low interest loans, sell public land cheaply, streamline permits and EIRs, etc. They do this in order to increase jobs, which in turn generates more revenue. In other words, there is tangible long term ROI for the tax payers.
    The same can be true of luring/retaining professional sports teams. Cities can do stuff like lease off parking garages (Sac, for helping build new arena for Kings), or selling land cheaply (San Jose, to Lew Wolff to build Cisco field). These are moves that can have benefit to cities, and help generate more jobs and help stimulate the local economy. These sorts of things are minimal risk, relatively low cost, and solid potential for ROI.
    What is a thing of the past is where cities just build big venues for the teams, with the teams having to pay nothing or minimal investment, with any kind of real ROI either non-existent or tenuous at best. I give you Mt Davis at the Coli as exhibit A – Oakland tax payers are still paying for that monstrosity, and it’s looking more and more like they’re going to lose their teams anyway, and the surrounding area is still a sh!thole.

  24. @Sid … or anyone else doubting Sacramento will retain the Kings:

    “There will be plenty on this issue in the upcoming weeks, but since the Sacramento arena issue has been part of the arena discussion these past few days in Seattle, here is the latest from the Northern California end: David Stern absolutely wants another franchise in Seattle – the Sonics’ departure four years ago remains a sore spot within his administration – but he doesn’t want it to be the Kings, which would tarnish his legacy after a brutal offseason, protracted labor dispute and his personal attempts to solidify the Kings future here these last several years.
    Also, the last thing Stern (and his fellow owners) wants is the relocation of another team with a history of stability and success – albeit, of late, addled by some serious mismanagement. Thus, he continues to work behind the scenes with Mayor Kevin Johnson on the financing of a new sports and entertainment complex in the downtown Railyards. Assuming the community and Sacramento politcal/business leaders continue making progress toward the financing of a new facility, I keep hearing Stern will remain committed to Sacramento. Given the stunning last-minute reprieve when the Kings appeared head to Anaheim last April, nothing would surprise me. I keep hearing whispers that Stern has a dramatic play yet to come – something “up his sleeve,” as they say.”
    It looks very very good at this point –
    1. Stern committed to keeping Kings in Sac
    2. Mayor and other Sac Polis committed to financing package for new arena
    3. Leasing of parking garages looks likely, passing votes, which would generate (depending who’s estimating) 120 to 200 mil.
    4. AEG willing to kick in substantial money, as owner/operators.
    5. Money from private investors
    6. Ticket and parking surcharges
    7. Maloofs willing to kick in money
    8. Stern/NBA possibly willing to loan money
    9. Businesses committed to luxury box and ticket sales

  25. I hope that Sacto does get to keep the Kings. But assuming its true that Stern is committed to making it happen, it’s nothing short of bizarre considering how ready and eager he was to throw Seattle under the bus.
    I mean, Seattle had a longer standing team, a strong history of support for the NBA, is a much larger market, and had a recently renovated arena that was far more viable than ARCO Arena. Choosing to support Sacto over Seattle is how they make decisions in the bizarro world.

    • This is Stern’s M.O. As long as there appears to be progress, he is supportive and plays the nice guy. Once he feels the public effort has stalled he will complain and talk about the franchise moving. It’s premature to assess what’s happening in Sacramento, especially because there is no real financing breakdown yet.

  26. Wasn’t it the bonding restrictions on sports facilities – passed by public referendum – that basically sealed the Sonics’ exit from Seattle? Some kind of restrictions whereby the bonds would have show a profit, which was never going to happen with arena financing?

  27. Billy Beane signed on as A’s GM through 2019 (per Bloomberg). Now, about that ballpark that’s gonna be built in San Jose…

  28. @bartleby
    Stern definitely regrets Seattle, and doesn’t want a repeat.
    Yup, it was sort of dead in the water after the referendum, and nothing else happening there, and an owner ready to move to a brand new arena in Oklahoma.
    This nearly happened to Sacramento – no prospect of an Arena, a deal ready for Anaheim. But at the 11th hour, KJ and other Sac polis and local business’ got their act together, and showed something substantive to Stern, the NBA, and the Maloofs, which resulted in the 1 year extension (in which time they had to present a viable financing plan, and show real progress). Unfortunately for Seattle, no 11th hour actions from local polis or businesses occurred.
    And both Arco (now Power Balance Pavillion) and Key Arena (even after it’s renovations) are not NBA viable (at least, do not meet NBA specifications).

  29. Why does everything government do have to be always about the bottom line (economy, jobs, etc)? Quality of life should count, too. In my case, the quality of my life would be very low if the A’s were to leave the Bay Area. I guess the common denominator these days is always money. Heaven forbid our money be invested in anything other than making more money.

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