Revisiting "Framework of characteristics that support successful community development in association with the development of professional sports facilities" and the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team + Phoenix Coyotes hockey
When I first started blogging, I would routinely criticize public funding of sports stadiums and arenas, because generally they are a bad deal for communities, although on the margins it depends on the deal, the type of sport, etc. ("Sports Stadiums Can Be Bad for Cities" and "If You Build It, They Might Not Come: The Risky Economics of Sports Stadiums," The Atlantic).
But it didn't matter, elected officials fall over themselves to give money to teams, as communities get squeezed between Growth Machine advocacy, economics and the way teams are able to mobilize fans to support such agreements, except in rare cases like San Diego, where agreements have to be ratified in public referendums ("San Diego Chargers stadium vote fails," Sports Illustrated).
So I started writing about this more in terms of how to make the best possible agreement in terms of elements of the project and contract that favor urban-community-city-county interests, rather than the interests of the team.
While "Framework of characteristics that support successful community development in association with the development of professional sports facilities," published last year, is the most recent iteration, the comment stream is full of additional points, as I've come across additional material, to the point where it's deserving of an updated writeup (which I am putting off).
Tampa Bay and baseball. But I couldn't help but be struck by this AP report, "Rays say split-season plan with Montreal rejected by MLB."The Tampa Bay Rays baseball team is quite successful on the field, having made last year's playoffs. But they have one of the worst attendance in all of professional baseball, fewer than 10,000 fans per game, ranking 30th--only Miami and Oakland are worse.
St. Petersburg mayor Ken Welch feels a new stadium in his city remains a possibility. Governmental officials have been working on a redevelopment plan for the Tropicana Field site. “We are working with our county partners and city council to put together the best plan possible, which will work in conjunction with my planned evolution of the Tropicana Field master development proposals,” Welch said in a statement. “With this collaborative approach, I am confident we can partner with the Tampa Bay Rays to create a new and iconic full-time home for Major League Baseball in St. Petersburg while also achieving historic equitable economic growth.”Sternberg said the team will definitely explore options in the Tampa Bay area.
How would anyone go about selling ice hockey to desert-bound Las Vegas? No snow, no skating tradition, and it is far away from the Midwest-Canadian roots of the sport.
The Vegas Golden Knights, an NHL expansion franchise, have pulled off a miracle on and off the ice. This team has captivated Las Vegas, and it began with a brilliant marketing plan, put in place by the Golden Knights' GM, George McPhee, and vice president of marketing Kim Frank. The team knew it was in a unique market and did plenty of research before proceeding.
The marketing plan began with a three shift festival and open house for season ticket holders, with plenty to do for kids and a nighttime aspect for adults. They created an arena with Vegas-style entertainment. A castle sits above one section, and the cheers are unique. They embrace fan-created traditions like the "Victory Flamingo," with plastic flamingos thrown on the ice after victories, by selling Victory Flamingo-themed socks and plush animals. The team motto is "Vegas Born," which has become a unifying factor for fans. The average attendance in the first year was over 100% of the capacity of the 17,500-seat T-Mobile Arena, which is located on the Strip, and the Knights are already sold out for next year.
Relocation is a notion more than a practical solution. Quebec City and Houston have both been floated before as potential homes for the Coyotes. Both cities have arenas fit for the purpose. In Houston, the Toyota Center is owned by Tilman Fertitta, who also owns the Rockets of the N.B.A.“The Coyotes aren’t going anywhere,” Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the N.H.L., said last week after the league’s annual board of governors’ meeting wrapped up in Palm Beach, Fla. “They’re going somewhere else other than Glendale, but they’re not leaving the greater Phoenix area.”