Portland mayor scoffs at stadium for Marlins

DMZ · January 10, 2006 at 9:58 am · Filed Under General baseball, Mariners 

Tom Potter got into the headlines on a slow news day by stating (again) that he and Portland have no interest in helping to build a ballpark for the Marlins.

The Marlins are on a ridiculous tour of possible new locations for their franchise, and team reps met with him yesterday.

So good news and bad news: no local competition, which would have been cool, also means the M’s continue to enjoy their massive regional media deals, so they’ll keep making tons of money.

Marlins president David Samson said:

“Governments do make decisions when they attract businesses to the community,” Samson said. “Baseball is not the only industry, by any stretch, to ask for government help when deciding where to have its corporate headquarters.”

That’s true, but that doesn’t make it a good deal. Long-time readers will recognize this from Jeff’s logical fallacy post as “Argumentum ad numerum” — the appeal to numbers (“everyone else is doing it, so it must be right”).


116 Responses to “Portland mayor scoffs at stadium for Marlins”

  1. marc w on January 10th, 2006 5:32 pm

    93: Baseball rejecting Vegas because of gambling would be doubly weird if the Portland deal used Indian gaming money in lieu of public financing. The Grand Ronde tribes had offered to front the money to build a stadium in exchange for the rights to run a casino in Portland. Seems fair to me.
    The link’s

  2. marc w on January 10th, 2006 5:33 pm

    ack. damn tag. link to a story on the grand ronde tribe offer:

  3. msb on January 10th, 2006 7:06 pm

    speaking of Bavasi, he is due on the KOMO hot stove show sometime after 7 pm tonight

  4. Oly Rainiers Fan on January 10th, 2006 7:07 pm

    There’s a book written by Jay Weiner (sportswriter for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune) called “Stadium Game : 50 Years of Big League Greed and Bush League Boondoggles” that goes painstakingly (but really interestingly written) through the history of the Twins and their endless quest for a new ballpark.

    In one of the chapters, he talks about having the ballpark be a multi-purpose facility – but not in the sense that it’d also be the home to another sports team – in the sense that all that extra space under the concourses, in the meeting rooms, etc. can be used for things that benefit the general public (like free health clinics, etc.) I’m not recounting it very well here, but I remember reading it and thinking what an interesting idea it was, and how sad that I had never heard similar sentiments put forward in relation to ANY publicly funded stadium for ANY sport. I mean, the public funds it, shouldn’t the general public be able to get some use out of it?

  5. Badperson on January 10th, 2006 7:44 pm

    I still think Mexico City would be the best choice. 20 million people, and a whole country full of people who like baseball.

  6. dw on January 10th, 2006 8:35 pm

    Two evident fallacies in the argument for public financing. First, that it is necessary to have an atractive baseball facility. SBC Park, built without public taxation, puts the lie to that.

    Pac Bell-SBC-at&t Park has been a financial albatross around the neck of the Giants. Sure, they’re getting nearly 40K a game in the new park, but they’re the ones carrying the debt, not the city, so they’re spending a significant sum of their profits every year on servicing that debt. That’s why you’ve seen so many events at the park that aren’t baseball related, and why their ticket prices are atrocious. An $18 view reserve ticket in Safeco costs $28 on the weekend at Pac Bell-SBC-at&t.

    Now, I’m not saying this is a bad thing, because with the taxes and debt service on Safeco, the people of the state of Washington are effectively subsidizing Mariners tickets. But the MLB owners are looking at the Giants’ experience as a cautionary tale for 100% privately financing a new stadium. It’s just like any mortgage — you don’t have a lot of money the first few years after you sign up.

  7. DMZ on January 10th, 2006 8:39 pm

    I disagree entirely. Giants tickets are that high because they can get those prices for them. It’s the Bay. Debt service doesn’t determine supply or demand.

    No one subsidizes anyone’s tickets: they are what they are. If a team could get $1 more a stub within the constraints of their lease (etc) they’ll do it.

  8. dw on January 10th, 2006 8:42 pm

    I still think Mexico City would be the best choice. 20 million people, and a whole country full of people who like baseball.

    I think people forget that Mexico’s favorite sport is soccer while baseball is now a distant second. The Mexican League has an average attendance on par with the Southern League.

  9. eric on January 11th, 2006 2:27 pm

    The lease deal for Joe Robbie or whatever it is called now is horrible, and the location stinks (getting people to drive 30 or 40 miles into the burbs once a week for 8 football games is one thing, 82 times for baseball is different). But once that lease ends and you are starting from scratch where does it make sense to build a stadium:

    Downtown Miami, with a metro area population of 5 mil + and soemthing like the 5th largest TV market in the country. or Portland which is what 1.5 mil or so and the 23rd TV market?

  10. eponymous coward on January 11th, 2006 3:05 pm

    But the MLB owners are looking at the Giants’ experience as a cautionary tale for 100% privately financing a new stadium.

    I’m sure they are- “Why should we pay if we can get suck-er, we mean, taxpayers to pay? More profits for us!”

  11. Grizz on January 11th, 2006 3:52 pm

    According to the Nielson company, Miami is the 17th largest TV market, while Portland is 23rd.

  12. eric on January 11th, 2006 10:30 pm

    I think the article I saw that ranked them 5th was giving them the entire southern half of Florida, basically the same as the Ms with FSN, they are the only game for the entire region. Portland on the other hand really is just their own market, expand North and it is Ms, go very far south and it is As.

    Either way, by any measure Miami is much better market than Portland. Leavign MIami for Portland (or San Antonio for that matter) would be much like the Rams leaving LA for St Louis

  13. Grizz on January 12th, 2006 9:51 am

    According to last census, the Miami metro area is 3.8 million, while Portland is 2.2 million. The more accurate NFL analogy would be the Colts leaving Baltimore for Indianapolis. In any event, the size of the Miami market has not helped the Marlins. For example, by measuring attendance over the last five years (which includes a World Series season), almost every market smaller than Miami (including some smaller than Portland) has outdrawn the Marlins. Personally, I don’t care where the Marlins play, but the Portland market is a viable alternative to the Miami market.

  14. eric on January 12th, 2006 10:44 am

    Part of the problem is the location, Joe Robbie is out in the sticks about 30-40 miles from Miami. My guess would be he got some great tax deal to build out there and/or cheap land. Getting people to drive that far on weeknights for a baseball game is a lot harder than getting them to come on a Sunday afternoon for football.

    You also gotta figure the ownership thrash and cycles of winning followed by total firesales have hurt attendance.

  15. Grizz on January 12th, 2006 11:51 am

    The Marlins’ stadium is 15 miles from downtown Miami.

  16. eric on January 12th, 2006 12:38 pm

    wow, when I have been there and driven it took like 45 minutes to an hour, and seemed a lot further than 15 miles (I wonder where they measure downtown as ending?) Maybe it is just the traffic, either way too far.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.