Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The K

The season opened yesterday with a whimper for the Royals, but the big news on this day is the stadium renovation vote. Jackson County residents will be asked to bear most of the financial burden for renovating both Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums. This represents the third attempt by the Royals and Chiefs (Bistate I and II, R.I.P.) to secure public financing for the refurbishment of their stadiums.

The Big Guns are a-blazin' with this vote, as the leaders of Major League Baseball, the National Football League and even the NCAA have all but promised their grandest events if the measures pass. I read somewhere yesterday that the proponents of this measure have outspent opponents by something on the order of $1.2 million to $500. And we think baseball PAYROLLS are inequitable.

I expect the measure to fail, not because of the relative merits of proposal but because American taxpayers are generally loathe to impose any new taxes on themselves. Normally I would be among those opposing stadium deals, because they rely too heavily on taxpayer support (I think taxpayers should bear some burden for the privilege of having a major league franchise in their town, but the majority of the costs should be paid by the owners and leagues) and because stadium spending has no measurable benefit on the performance of the team itself. The Royals are not going to improve as a result of this stadium package unless it generates enough new revenue to allow the Royals to spend like the large market teams. It won't, so the Royals will still be overwhelmingly reliant upon drafting and developing to build their team.

But anyway, I'd like to see this measure pass. Kauffman Stadium is a gem but it is old and needs a facelift. If taxpayers have to spend money, I'd probably prefer it to be a downtown stadium, but if the Royals can save $100 million by bringing the K up-to-date for the next 20 years rather than building new, then I see no problem with that.

But mostly I'd just like to see the issue settled so the Royals secure a future in this city.


At 6:00 PM, Anonymous Aaron Rushin said...

As a lifelong Royals fan, I would hope the public would reject this measure. The best thing for the city, if not the Royals, would be a new stadim downtown. As long as the citizens don't have to pay for it. Arsenal (a major soccer club in the English Premiere league) paid for a brand new football stadium themselves without pulblic money. So did the San Fransisco Giants. If not, so what? Where would the Royals go? (Here's a hint- NOWHERE!) Is Portland, Las Vegas, or San Antonio a better place for a major league franchise? No, they aren't. The Royals are going nowhere, not because KC is so great, but because all the major league markets are taken. If I were a citizen of Jackson County I would vote no and dare the Royals to move. The only scare to the franchise was contraction and I don't the commissioner would allow that now. So let's be like Minnesota and make these rich a-holes pay for their stadium themselves.

At 8:08 PM, Blogger DL said...

It makes zero financial sense for David Glass to invest in his own stadium right now. If the next CBA were considerably more beneficial to small market teams then he might be able to make a business case, but as it stands there is no way he could expect to recoup his money on that investment. Sadly, the Royals are not Arsenal or the Giants. Those are completely different franchises operating in very different contexts.

I don't know if Portland or San Antonio are better places for baseball or not, but Las Vegas is extremely attractive (its the fastest growing city in the country) and Sacramento would be a great option if they were interested (its nearly twice as large as KC).

David Glass isn't losing any money now, and his aims are more philanthropic than anything else. So he's under no immediate pressure to leave. But the lure of a fully-financed stadium, a more favorable demographic and the potential to make serious money for ANOTHER owner might be too tempting. I think the Royals are safe in KC for the next 5 years but I'm not nearly as confident that the Royals will stay...

At 9:30 AM, Blogger SoonerRoyal said...

Surprisingly, the measure passed. So, it looks like Kansas City has done enough to keep the Royals here. The K is a nice baseball stadium and will still be a nice venue after revonations. A downtown baseball stadium would be nice and might make more sense in the long-run. But, the Royals didn't appear interested in a downtown stadium and claimed the public wasn't as well, although I tend to think otherwise.

At 11:51 AM, Blogger DL said...

I'm just happy the issue is finally settled. The Royals are secure in Kansas City for the next 20 or 25 years. That has SOME value, regardless of what you think about who should pay or what should have been built.

I think taxpayers showed a lot of savvy by voting for the stadium but voting down the rolling roof. It had a singular purpose - to get one Super Bowl (and maybe a Final Four, but I doubt that). Hardly worth the expense.

At 10:05 PM, Blogger Max said...

Bi-State one was not to fund the sports stadiums, but to renovate Union Station. This is just the second attempt.

At 12:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Royals' future is like the past of the 1899 Cleveland Spiders. Look it up!


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