BOB: Angel Stadium issuesby Brian Borawski
May 02, 2012
Los Angeles stadium speculationThe Los Angeles Dodgers have been all over the news lately and while the closing of the team's sale was delayed by a day, now the franchise can start looking toward the future. One thing that appears off the table is a new ballpark for the Dodgers, despite the fact that Dodger Stadium is turning 50. It looks like a $300 million rehab is a lot more palatable to the new owners then an $800 million-plus new ballpark.
Then there are the two-city Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The name change brought its own controversy in its time and while the team won and the city of Anaheim eventually gave up on its fight over the addition of “Los Angeles,” we could have the Angels in the limelight once again. They have the chance to opt out of their stadium lease in 2016. Ironically that will be when Angel Stadium turns 50. If they don't, they're locked in until 2029, so many are speculating that it'll be the Angels that jump into downtown Los Angeles.
Back in 2005, when the Angels and the city of Anaheim were fighting, owner Arte Moreno said that they'd need to make the decision on a new ballpark four or five years before 2016. One sticking point is there might not be enough room if the NFL puts a team in downtown LA. But one obstacle that's prevented the Oakland Athletics from moving—which is that their suitor in San Jose is in the middle of San Francisco Giants territory—isn't there for the Angels because they and the Dodgers share the same territory.
Oakland Athletics stadium issue not on owners' radarSpeaking of the Athletics, it was just a couple of months ago that rumors started to pop that their stadium issue would be resolved soon. Now we have Athletics owner Lew Wolff saying that it's not on the agenda for the owners' meeting in mid-May which means the earliest it could be voted on, barring a special session, is in August. This is turning into one of the biggest and more secretive games of chicken we've seen in a while, with the Giants holding on to their territory in San Jose. I thought there would have been a buyout by now, but at this point it looks like the Angels could get a new ballpark going if they opt out of their lease before the Athletics get one.
Wrigley Field renovation detailsThe Ricketts family, owner of the Chicago Cubs, wants to give historic Wrigley Field a facelift. The Cubs are looking for help in putting in $300 million to reconstruct Wrigley Field and another $200 million to build a Triangle parking, entertainment and multi-use structure off of the west wall of the ballpark. The Rickettses have said they'll pony up the $200 million for the Triangle building, but they're looking for help to pay for half of the $300 million stadium renovation.
The hope is for the Cubs to use city and Cook County bonds to pay for the $150 million “shortfall.” The idea is that any increase in revenue from the amusement tax on ticket sales could be used to service the debt. The problem is, unlike a regular bond that has an expiration, this “servicing” would go on indefinitely and the team wants a big slice of any large increase in the amusement tax. For now, neither the city nor the county is on board.
MiLB teams up with Virginia StateDo you want a job with Minor League Baseball? Looks like Virginia State will be one of the colleges you want to consider. It's teamed up with Minor League Baseball so that three advanced undergraduate students will be picked starting in January to spend several months at MiLB's headquarters in St. Petersburg. While there, they'll learn about the business of baseball and provide media support services.
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.
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