Posts Tagged ‘Baseball’
Where are the Tucson Sidewinders?
The City of Reno used TIF financing and worked with private investors to build a $50 million state-of-the-art AAA Ballpark and lured the Sidewinders. The Reno Aces sold out their opener with 9,167 fans and has averaged 6,601 fans this year (well above their break even point). The stadium was built in downtown Reno and is part of a redevelopment district that includes retail, dining, and office buildings.
Here is the way TIF financing should be used:
The City of Reno used TIF funds to entice Cabela’s to build a retail facility. Cabela’s sells hunting, fishing, and camping supplies. Preliminary data indicate the new store was largely responsible for a year-over-year increase of sales tax revenue of 35% (Dec 2008 vs. Dec 2007); while Rio Nuevo TIF declined 38% during the same period. TIF funds were used to upgrade infrastructure (not to build the store). Economic impact of Cabela’s includes:
234 permanent jobs
486 temporary jobs
Estimated 2 million out-of-state visitors
Please note that the Tucson City Council would consider Cabela’s a ‘big box’ store and has an ordinance that would discourage this type of facility.
More about opening weekend – HERE
Reno a success dispite the odds against them – HERE
Bonding for Cabellas – HERE
Reading May’s political tea leaves
By Emil Franzi, Special to The Explorer
We’ve had local elections, and some further away, along with enough positioning and posturing to give us some hints about our political futures.
Californians of all stripes overwhelmingly told their government “no” to higher taxes in the multiple forms they were presented. Those supporting a statewide election to raise the sales tax to bail out Arizona should note that if you can’t pass any tax increase in a lefty state with bigger budget troubles than ours, good luck here.
Early on, I called for a sales tax election combined with constitutional amendments repealing all the spending ballot props that voters suckered for that the legislature is banned from modifying. Give them an “either – or,” but it’s too late for that. Republicans should not have been afraid of the voters. They even figured it out in San Francisco.
Up the road in Casa Grande, voters rejected a sales tax hike for a new spring training stadium by 77 percent. I hope the local Sports Authority noticed and will quit lobbying the legislature to enable Pima County to waste money on an election that will get the same result here. File that Marana Stadium next to the Rainbow Bridge over the Santa Cruz.
Two local elections gave local Democrats mostly negative results, who are attempting to breed future partisan legislative candidates by electing them to non-partisan school boards and town councils. I find no fault with this — the GOP should quit being onlookers and do the same.
In Sahuarita, the Dem pick was Rosanna Gabaldon. This partisan activity created a backlash and partly motivated Republican Kara Egbert’s candidacy. Both Gabaldon and Egbert won the two seats, making it a push.
In Marana, Dems supported Kelle Maslyn, one of four finalists for two council seats including Republicans Jon Post and Larry Steckler and Democrat Carol McGorray.
Local GOP types were mostly onlookers in both towns with the exception of GOP National Committeeman Bruce Ash, who formed an independent committee whomping on Maslyn for raising almost all her funds from outside Marana. Post led the ticket followed by McGorray, with Maslyn third. Ash-GOP 1, D’s 0, even though some Dems have attempted to spin and claim McGorray, whom they didn’t support.
Spin will be high on the Dem agenda next year. You can tell by the almost insane rhetoric in the letters columns and elsewhere about education spending. With all the intellectual depth of the last Banzai Charge, the Democrat / public employees union coalition wants us to believe Republicans hate schools and teachers and keep our children ignorant so they won’t be smart and educated enough to vote for Democrats.
Is there anybody out there who actually believes this slop?
Typical is the recent letter about the GOP violating “teacher’s First Amendment rights” from Robert Cozad, who failed to note that he is the founder of the Oro Valley Democrat Club. Cozad claims a bill passed by the GOP legislature bans public school teachers from lobbying. No, it makes them reimburse taxpayers if done on school time.
As a former public employee, the husband of a retired one, the past vice-president of AFSCME local 449, and a former member of the Pima County Merit Commission, I realize public employees may apply for time off they have earned to do whatever they want. They have no constitutional right to lobby legislators on the taxpayer’s dime.
One final May item, the headline in the remaining daily informing us that the TUSD Superintendent Elizabeth Celania-Fagen was hiring seven new administrators while laying off teachers because they were needed for her “vision.” That exposes the real agenda and mindset of the Democrat / union / administrator coalition. It isn’t about the children, it’s about the power.
I gotta hand it to Inside Tucson Business for doing a little investigative reporting and jumping on the Rio Nuevo bandwagon. Keep it up guys the “safety zone – cloth reporting” is yesterday’s business model. Just ask Kimble at the Citizen.
It was a short but sweet story about how Reno is revitalizing their downtown centered around…..wait for it…… SPORTS STADIUM and ENTERTAINMENT! Why didn’t we think of that?
From looking at the background their downtown actually looks worse than ours. Looks like they have a great first start. I wonder if they spent $80 million in consultants to get this far?
Bottom of the 9th, bases load and Casey’s at bat! From today’s Tucson Citizen (sports page in case you missed it);
“The Rockies have fielded six proposals from entities for a possible move, but have yet to receive a proposal from Tucson.”
“Nearly a week ago, the D-backs sent requests for proposals for spring facilities to six entities. The Rockies are gathering information more on a case-by-case basis, McGregor said.”
No proposals from our local governments?!
And the comments:
5. Comment by zona t. (zonatic) — March 5,2009 @ 11:50AM
Ratings: -3 +27
Tucson will remain an abscure little-big town until its citizens and leaders inject the area with infrastructure that will attract and retain world-class events and orginizations like pro sports teams. There’s no committment from city leaders. Sadly, the local economy will further suffer. You can’t hardly find a hotel room in the PHX area during spring training. Tucson’s problem with getting big things done is perplexing.
6. Comment by jim f. (zjimi13) — March 5,2009 @ 11:50AM
Ratings: -0 +20
with the city doing nothing to preserve core government services it would be difficult to see them proposing new stadium deals, however with the city being completely reliant upon sales tax and only sales tax as a source for revenue it seems self-defeating to continue to allow teams to leave the area. My only wish is that there was a clear vision as to where Tucson was heading from public officials.
11. Comment by Arnold B. (ArnoldB) — March 5,2009 @ 1:50PM
Ratings: -4 +20
As a lifelong Tucsonan, I think the city has actually regressed from what it was 20 years ago. There’s just not much life left in the place, except for the UofA, really. Very few big-time events at the TCC, the mid-town areas are run down and full of cyclone fences. Duplexes are all taken over by property management firms who don’t repair anything unless they HAVE to. This town is ugly. There are more COP cars on the streets now than pedestrians and even the COPs cars don’t match !!!! City buses running everywhere and clogging the two-lane streets.
It’s just a nasty little town anymore that, when it had a chance to grow up and be something, elected and appointed a lot of self-interested types who didn’t care much about anything outside of their narrow, cultural interests.
Violent crime and theft are rampant here, and crack and meth have just worn this place out.
If I were involved in this baseball fiasco, I would leave Tucson, too. It’s just not a very nice place anymore.
12. Comment by Ralph A. (MyVoiceHeard) — March 5,2009 @ 1:50PM
Ratings: -0 +16
Tucson officials are tongue tied, not sure what to do. They screwed around, wasting lots of years, where they should have been attentive, and were not. Tucson just does not have any solutions for any issues. Noone that should have the authority does anything, just sits on their hands. It is sad to see the city declining fast, as events leave the city, less people will vacation or visit here. Wake up TUCSON>
22. Comment by Jim K. (jimkelley) — March 5,2009 @ 2:43PM
Ratings: -1 +8
Is it any wonder that towns like Oro Valley and Marana are distancing themselves from Tucson? These city governments have evolved into thriving communities with their own events. I’m amazed how anyone could vote the same problems into office…Rio Nuevo..enough said.
33. Comment by Otto R. (eagle eyes) — March 5,2009 @ 4:43PM
Ratings: -1 +5
Spoiled brats leaving town, big business avoiding crime ridden and high tax Pima county, and the taxpayers, most of whom are just trying to make their way through life, are stuck with financing the salaries and retirement plans of the public workers who contribute little or nothing to the quality of life here. It’s only going to get worse until something changes to attract the things necessary for a well balanced and healthy community. We’ve seen the results of voting for people with a (D) next to their names, but that will not change in Tucson, which seems to pride itself on being a Democratic stronghold. Enjoy the scenery.
On Feb. 2, the city council there voted unamimously to put a referendum before voters May 19 asking for an approval of 0.9 percent sales tax to build a stadium that would attract the two teams.
“We want to see if the local community has an appetite for Spring Training,” said Mayor Bob Jackson said. “If so, we want to put this financing mechanism in place so that if a team becomes available over the next 10 years we would be in a position where we could begin immediate discussions with them.”
The Chicago White Sox paid Pima County $5 million last year to get out of its deal to use Tucson Electric Park. The team next month will begin Spring Training in Glendale. That has left local officials worried that both the Diamondbacks, who train at TEP, and the Rockies, who train Hi Corbett Field, will follow the White Sox out of town.
Efforts to attract a third Major League Baseball team to Tucson have been unsuccessful.
So are either the Diamondbacks or Rockies interested in Casa Grande?
A call to Diamondbacks officials went unanswered.
An obviously perturbed Jay Alves, vice president of communications and public relations with the Rockies, didn’t want to talk about it saying it was premature. In fact the Rockies have been more proactive in trying to find alternatives that would allow them to stay in Tucson.
If Casa Grande voters approve of the May 19 measure, the tax would not go into effect or would bonds be sold until the city council approves an agreement with at least one baseball franchise.
Contact reporter Joe Pangburn at email@example.com or (520) 295-4259.
Tucson has had a relationship with baseball since the 1940’s. That relationship is under some stress as the Chicago White Sox recently left our community for greener (as in $80.7 million in green backs) ball parks in Glendale. First off, why would the State of Arizona Dept. of Commerce, or the AZ Sports Authority let one community poach from another. I guess we aren’t on the same team.
With the White Sox leaving the two remaining teams have clauses in their contracts allowing them to leave if there aren’t 3 Tucson MLB spring training teams. Baseball really could be heading north. The Cactus League of Spring Training teams is really becoming an economic boom to Arizona. Just not Southern Arizona.
Groups are working to build a new stadium, fix Hi Corbett and attract a third or fourth team. If all goes well the voters will get a crack at passing a special sales tax to fund the projects. Good luck with that in this tough economic climate.
The reliable estimates are that MLB spring training brings in $10 million per club to our local economy. The $30 million injection annual means more hotel booking, golf course rounds of play and fans to eat and drink in local restaurants. The big question is; Is it worth investing in staduims to attract or retain new teams?
Footing the Bill for a Ballpark
The once popular practice of spending public money to finance sports stadiums has recently been striking out. That’s no surprise when you consider the books economists and journalists are writing these days: “Loot, loot, loot for the home team,” is a chapter in a 2005 book called The Great American Jobs Scam by Greg LeRoy, founder of the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit development watchdog group Good Jobs First. The 1999 book Field of Schemes offers a similar take. Its author, journalist Neil DeMause, sums up the situation as follows: “In almost eight years of reporting on stadium deals, I’ve spoken to every economist I can find about the impact of sports stadiums. And I’ve yet to find a single independent economist (by which I mean one not actually working for a sports team or league) who thinks that stadiums are any use as an economic engine.”
LeRoy explains in his book that the whole system of public financing is usually traced to the 1950s. Until then, team owners paid for their own stadiums— with few exceptions. The trend started in 1953 with the first team relocation in half a century, the Boston Braves’ move to Milwaukee. They were lured there with a new stadium built with public money. Since then, politicians everywhere have been “taken in by the assumption that the presence of a professional sports team is a leading contributor to the vitality of cities,” LeRoy writes. “That notion has so captivated politicians that they are willing to give sport team owners subsidies that are far beyond wha tother private-sector businesses can hope for.”
Nationwide, there is growing opposition to funding sports programs with taxpayer monies. In a 1997 Rasmussen poll on the subject, 64 percent of respondents answered “no” to the question of whether taxpayer dollars should be used to build a professional sports facility. Still, Adam M. Zaretsky, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, wrote in a 2001 policy paper on the subject, “Should cities pay for sports facilities?” that between 1987 and 1999, 55 stadiums and arenas were refurbished or built in the U.S. with more than $8.7 billion. Fifty-seven percent of that, or roughly $5 billion, was financed by taxpayers.
Clearly, the debate about whether stadiums are good for cities extends far beyond Miami. The NFL’s San Diego Chargers spent five years trying to secure funds and a location to replace the outmoded, 40-year-old Qualcomm Stadium. San Diego residents also want a new stadium: in a January 2006 poll conducted by the San Diego Union-Tribune, 68.6 percent of 27,575 residents polled said the city should donate land to build a new football stadium. An overwhelming 95.6 percent said they would support a new stadium if the Chargers paid for it, along with the requisite infrastructure improvements.
According to the proposal the Chargers made to the city in October 2005, the new football stadium, completely funded by the Chargers and their development partner, would be built on 60 of the 166 acres of current Qualcomm Stadium land in Mission Valley. The remaining acreage would be used for parks, streets, parking garages, and commercial development. But as the Chargers’ general counsel, Mark Fabiani, explains, the plan didn’t pan out because the city of San Diego, teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, decided to set aside the question of stadium funding for other priorities.
The Chargers consequently could not find a suitable development partner, according to Fabiani, “not because the project wouldn’t have worked out, but because no one wanted to get mired in the city of San Diego’s chaos.” Not surprisingly, last year the city amended the terms of its lease with the Chargers so that they could begin to look elsewhere for a home. And plenty of new cities are lining up to court them, including nearby Chula Vista, National City, and Oceanside, California. Even Las Vegas, Nevada, showed interest, though the Chargers’ contract restricts relocation talks to cities within San Diego County. “Private funding for a stadium is very difficult to pull off,” Fabiani says. “In California, people are just not eager to subsidize these stadiums.”
Stadiums have fared better in other cities. In Minneapolis, for example, after ten years of struggling with the issue, the Minnesota Twins last year reached an agreement on a new $522 million stadium that will be partially funded by a sales tax of 15 cents for every $100 in sales in Hennepin County, where the team plays ball.
But there seems to be a growing heap of evidence that stadiums don’t make such good long-term investments for cities. Robert Baade, an economics professor at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Illinois, studied baseball stadiums specifically. He looked at the per capita income in 30 cities that have built new sports stadiums over the past 30 years and found that in 27 of the cities, there was no observable economic impact.
“In the other three cities, income looked to have gone down as a result of the stadium,” Baade says. Stadiums do offer some clear benefits to cities. “Bars next to stadiums see an increase in customers on game days,” Baade says. But even that has a down side, however, because the bars only do well when a team is winning. “When a team is losing, who wants to go out and celebrate another loss?”
Baade found that, “In only a small fraction of the cases examined does manufacturing activity… correlate significantly with the presence of a new or renovated stadium. We conclude that measurable economic benefits to area residents are not large enough to justify stadium subsidies and that the debate must turn to immeasurable intangible benefits like fan identification and civic pride.”
Stadium boosters in Miami are vowing to try again next year, especially if it means keeping the Marlins from pulling up stakes and heading to a new city. One man watching the Marlins’ quest with special interest is Jack McKeon, the former Marlins manager who led the team to their World Series victory in 2003. Now 76 and semi-retired in Elon, North Carolina, the cigar-smoking, tough-talking McKeon (nicknamed Trader Jack) still works as a part-time consultant for the Marlins, mainly as a talent scout. “It would be a shame if they don’t have baseball in Miami,” he says. The sentiment is certainly shared by South Florida Marlin fans, whatever their numbers.
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