More stadium news this week from Knoxville and Chattanooga and Nashville, which had this song in my head all morning. It’s better than this one or definitely this one, so no complaints.

  • The Chattanooga City Council has signed $80 million bonds for a new lookouts minor league stadium on Tuesday, even though economists and even some local political leaders said it was a terrible idea and 60% of local residents opposed it. The cost will be repaid by $49.8 million in property taxes recovered from 470 acres around the stadium site, $17.5 million in team rental payments, $5 million in sales taxes and $3 million dollars in parking fees — assuming all that money comes through as planned, or Chattanooga taxpayers will end up with the bag. Additionally, The Center Square reports, “ownership of the stadium, estimated in the announcement at $10 million, will be given to Stadium Authority as part of the deal,” which sounds great until that you realize that the stadium authority is now going to be the proud owners of land that he can’t use for anything because he has a private baseball team stadium sitting on it, and he can’t no longer collect property taxes on it now because it will be public property. At least the Chattanoogans don’t have to worry about their baseball team moving away for 30 years, at least, unless there’s a hidden opt-out somewhere in that lease, sorry to to be the voice of misfortune this morning, but that’s why you pay me the big bucks.
  • Construction also began this week on the Tennessee Smoke‘ a new $74.5 million stadium in Knoxville, which is also almost entirely publicly funded. (This whole “threatening to contract teams to extort money from the stadium” thing works really, really well for MLB!) WVLT’s article about it includes the tidbit: “Mayors Indya Kincannon and Glenn Jacobs approve of the TIF district expansion, they said it was because of the overall revenue the stadium is expected to bring to the area, which is $480 over 30 years. It’s up to you !
  • Rounding out our Tennessee trifecta, here’s an article from the Tennessean answering the “top five questions” about the new Titans stadium subsidy plan, carried out entirely citing the team’s CEO. Oh, does the Tennessean want you to pay them first before you can read the team’s PR statements? just go read Nashville Councilman Bob Mendes Rewritesso, they are better anyway.
  • Thanks to a clause in the 1998 election initiative that approved public financing of the Denver BroncosAt the stadium, local governments will receive a share of the proceeds from the team’s $4.65 billion sale to Walmart heir Rob Walton. The original agreement guaranteed that a 2% cut of any franchise sales would go to seven Denver-area counties and cities; the former owners of the Bowlen Trust had to subtract $247 million in team debt and $2.4 billion in capital contributions over the years, so the public is left with just a check for $41 million . Still, good job of the 1998 government negotiators to claw back $41 million out of a $289 million public outlay just 24 years later, representing a return on investment of…okay, negative 85.81% , but it’s better than nothing, that’s what most government negotiators are negotiating for, so half a gold star, anyway.
  • Does anyone anywhere even care that the Cincinnati Bengals‘ the stadium will now bear the name of a payroll management company? Or that the local telephone company bought the naming rights to a stadium gate? That the Bengals now have a sponsorship deal to have an official canned cocktail? All of those articles were news articles, for some reason, which for some reason also failed to mention that the county taxpayers who paid for the stadium’s construction will not see any proceeds from any of these transactions, although one suggested they could help fund $500 million in renovations that homeowners want – history doesn’t show that homeowners with more money make them more likely to pay their own renovations stadium, but we can dream.
  • Hagerstown, Maryland, is spending $70 million in public funds to build a new Suns of Hagerstown minor league ballpark, and it will first have to spend millions of dollars on land acquisition. Is that part of the $70 million, or more? Baltimore Sun, has anyone found this and want to post the article? Nope? Just a picture of 18-year-old Willie Mays for some reason? Season 5 of The Wire was too kind, in retrospect.