Sunday, July 30, 2006

Orlando news columnist plays chicken with Magic

Interesting column in Saturday's Orlando Sentinal.

DeVos needs us more than we need him

But with DeVos, there is only vague talk about a "significant'' contribution toward a new arena that would cost between $350 million and $395 million. How do we define "significant"?

If you look at the market and other arena deals, DeVos should pay more than half the cost of the facility.

Really? OK, so some guy at Marquette backs up the claim, but David Glass is paying, I believe 7% and the Chiefs are paying, I believe 18%, for renovations to their facilities.

If Orlando insists on half then we may have the second DeVos owned team in KC (remember Dan DeVos owned the Blades).

A good model for us is the Dallas Mavericks' American Airlines Center. The city capped its commitment at $125 million, leaving the rest to the Mavericks and NHL's Dallas Stars. They had to cover all cost overruns. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban had plenty of them as he upgraded the facility into a high-tech, state-of-the-art arena with a final price tag of $420 million. The city's share of that came to about 30 percent.

Interesting, but two franchises who consistently put 95%+ capacity in the building kicked in for AAC. Orlando has one franchise that draws about 90%, 85%, 83%, 85% capacity over the last five years.

What if DeVos balks at this and threatens to move? We wave goodbye.

Good. That hack Mike Bianchi should be on the high school beat anyway.

Kansas City is overextended with football and baseball, and already has lost an NBA team.

Yes, we lost an NBA and an NHL team. We get it.
Of course, the NHL team was owned by a bunch of morons who couldn't make a go of it in Denver either and sold the team to John McMullen.

And, the Kings were in existence in the age before Jordan and the Internet. Some people have told me the Kings' season ticket campaign consisted of waiting for last year's season ticket holders to call to renew their tickets.
Charlotte lost a team and got one back.
New Orleans lost a team and got one back.

We have no other major sports franchises and, with all due respect to UCF, no competition from college sports. Kansas City is overextended with football and baseball, and already has lost an NBA team.

What do you want to bet me Thomas has never even BEEN to KC.

If the Magic leave Orlando, this simply creates a void that another franchise will fill, be it from the NBA -- with its ready supply of restless teams -- or another major sport.

I doubt, however, that NBA Commissioner David Stern is dumb enough to hand over his monopoly here to another league.

Why? So another team can NOT fill the building.

Look, I'm all for these owners paying for their own palaces. But, it's just not going to happen. The demand for these teams is too high and the supply to short.

Orlando better kick in at least $200M plus cost overruns or Devos will take his ball and go. I think asking for any amount more than 33% from this owner is asking for too much.


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