BOB: Stadium updates aboundby Brian Borawski
July 03, 2013
Athletics stadium breakthrough snatched awayWith all of the talk about the San Jose/MLB lawsuit recently, people tend to forget that the city of Oakland would still like to keep the Oakland Athletics in Oakland. The city looked like it was going to get one step closer to making that a reality but then took a temporary step back this past week. It looked like the city’s Port Commission was going to look at a settlement that would end a legal dispute that would free up a parcel of port land where the Athletics could build a new ballpark. The settlement would push the current tenant to another spot on the port with a better long-term lease. This would then free up some waterfront property for a ballpark.
Athletics owner Lew Wolff still says the site isn’t going to work, but with all of the legal turmoil, I could see the team getting forced into a situation that it's not 100 percent on board with. Shortly after news came out that a settlement was close, though, it came out that the Oakland Board of Commissioners was going to wait another week to decide. Meanwhile, the Athletics’ are supposedly getting closer to signing a five-year lease extension to stay at the Oakland Coliseum.
Cubs get closer to stadium renovationThe Chicago Cubs earned a partial victory in their pursuit of a wholesale renovation of Wrigley Field when the city’s Landmark Commission signed off on moving back the stadium’s outfield walls. Meanwhile, the approval of the more controversial giant signs in the outfield bleachers was shelved for the time being. The parties are going to deal with it in July.
Once the signs are approved by the Landmark Commission, the entire plan would go to the city’s Planning Commission. If it’s approved there, it goes to the City Council Zoning Committee and if that step is passed, it goes before the Chicago City Council. The Cubs’ owner, the Ricketts family, wants to start the renovation when the regular season ends. (I guess they’ve written the team off from making the playoffs.)
Marlins Park targeted for bowl gameThe Miami Marlins are having a historically bad season at the turnstiles considering they have a two-year-old stadium but beginning in 2014, the stadium might have a sellout of some sorts. College football is looking to add another bowl game in Miami and is considering Marlins Park. Talks about a bowl game at the park are in the early stages, and it could be a while before an announcement is made.
Minor league stadium wrapThe mayor of Colorado Springs hired a research firm to see whether moving the Colorado Springs Sky Sox baseball stadium from the east side of the city to downtown would be worth the investment. While I’m always skeptical about these studies, the results are in. Summit Economics determined that it would be a boon to the city with an increase in jobs, sales tax revenue and local retail sales at nearby stores. The study said that teams that moved their stadiums almost always saw a spike in attendance. I’m sure a lot of this is the excitement behind a new ballpark.
Also, Columbia, S.C. wants a team after a 10-year absence. The mayor of Columbia thinks the city needs to build a ballpark to draw one. He cites the usual arguments (it’s an economic stimulant and creates jobs), but for now there are no formal plans to build a ballpark. The last time there was an affiliated minor league team in Columbia was when the Capital City Bombers played in the South Atlantic League. That team left after the 2004 season.
Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.