Stadium Status

A fascinating look at the development of new multi-m(b)illion dollar professional sports facilities from Internets Celebrities. The pair, a duo of chubby, satirical New Yawk bloggers, take a street-level look at the so-called "revitalized" areas around New Yankees Stadium, CitiField, and the pending Brooklyn Nets stadium. Focusing on the practice of leveraging public moneys into these projects, Dallas and Rafi expose what we already knew: owners are after profit and profit alone. Damn the residents, the area, and the taxpayers, these stadiums are pure moneymakers. The doc is a worthwhile watch, especially for those of us looking down the barrel of a similar gun here in Edmonton.

Now we're far removed from the high political corruption and intrigue of the Gotham State ("[Bruce Ratner] went to law school with the old governor"), but we've got our own Old Boys Club currently on the payroll of pretty much the only gun in town when we're talkin' billions in net worth. Mr. Katz is on his own warpath to "stadium status" and, though he may not be evicting tenants (yet), he has already convinced the majority of the populous that we're waiting on the rain to let up in order to break ground.

Exaggeration aside, the Katz Group seems to be performing some sleight of hand to push the public hearing of the zoning issue past the election. Could this be a bargaining chip with his Mayorship? Katz & Co. may be holding off on breaking it to the proles that they will be paying for the building, which would remove one more obstacle between Mandel and re-election. With no arena issue dangling above him during his campaign, the incumbent might just look that much more favourably on The Org's Arena District when the zoning approval is tabled. Public outcry is easy to ignore if the numbers work.

The mainstream media is playing a pawn in this affair as well. The widely-read daily METRO gave this headline: Katz Group OKs delay to zoning proposal. Another interesting (and oddly anonymous) article popped up in the Journal today: Breathing room. Both articles posit that the KG and the City are making the "wise" move, the move that's right for "everybody." It's easy to see through the ratty wool they're trying to pull over our eyes, especially when supposed negative-bent articles (here and here) still read like a rousing huzzah for the new building.

This is all really a meditation on the inevitability of it all because, as readers of SLOW FRESH OIL know, the plans have been in place for quite some time.

SIDE NOTE: In other sad arena news, looks like SanFran is losing the Niners to the hardcore sports city of... Santa Clara? Sigh... So long, Candlestick, you've had a good run and you know we'll leave our hearts in San Francisco.

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