Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

DC United proposes moving its headquarters to Loudoun County after DC spends millions for its new DC-based stadium

There are a bunch of interesting things that are happening in the business of sports that I haven't written about such as:

-- people aren't warming to the new super hockey complex in Downtown Detroit ("Empty seats at Pistons and Wings games draw questions," Detroit News) whereas the moving of the "Washington Bullets" in the late 1990s from Suburban Maryland to DC ended up being an important signal to suburban residents about the new relevance of the center city

-- College football bowl games increasingly play to television with lesser local economic development effects ("How college football bowl game system mixes socialism, capitalism," USA Today)

-- the Carolina Panthers football team is for sale and I didn't realize that the team's creation spurred the development of "Personal seat licenses" as a form of financing ("In Charlotte, the Jerry Richardson scandal causes deeper tremors," Washington Post

-- the tax law changes reduce the benefits of "donating" to college sports programs and put an excessive income charge on highly-paid coaches ("Alabama, other top college programs will see rising costs in tax bill," USA Today)

-- on the day of the game of the upcoming Super Bowl in Minneapolis the light rail system will only be usable by people with game tickets ("Super Bowl will limit light-rail use to ticket holders on game day," Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

-- maybe that the Chargers and Rams are doing well will pay off for the teams and their moving to Los Angeles

-- Las Vegas is looking at the role of public transit as an element of game day transportation vis a vis the development of a football stadium for the team now in Oakland, the Raiders ("Officials test US public transit options for Raiders stadium," Las Vegas Review-Journal)

-- the moving to the city (Brooklyn) doesn't seem to have worked out for the New York Islanders hockey team, which is moving back to Nassau County, Long Island ("New York Islanders may be returning from city to suburbs," ABC News)


But today's article ("The numbers behind D.C. United's proposed Loudoun soccer complex") in the Washington Business Journal about the DC United soccer team") makes me realize once again that contractually, cities need to protect themselves way better when it comes to development deals for stadiums and arenas.

DC is already at a disadvantage compared to other jurisdictions because it can't do game-day taxation on players income when events are played in DC--something that most other jurisdictions do. The restriction emanates from how Congress prevents DC from taxing the in-city income of nonresidents.

Anyway, DC is spending upwards of $150 million on the stadium, for land acquisition and other costs, which is matched by the team. Additionally, the city is providing other tax breaks.

Not being a commercial tax maven, I can't begin to figure out how not having the team headquarters located in DC will reduce income taxes paid to the city, but I imagine there is some effect.

Just as I believe cities need to include transportation demand management requirements in such contracts ("Sports events and the transit city: participation in transportation demand management shouldn't be an option") it looks as if such contracts should include provisions on team headquarters and related items.

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