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MLB Expansion: Austin on the radar?


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9 minutes ago, Beau Vine said:

And virtually everyone in the state is pissed off that the state is subsidizing F1.

Really? Because I rarely hear a peep about it, except mostly from me & one other guy. But even if they're pissed, they aren't doing much about it, and COTA's still gotten/getting all that money. The Legislature could give a rat's ass if we're pissed about it. It pissed off NASCAR, Bruton Smith & Eddie Gossage of Texas Motor Speedway, too, but now they're on the gravy train & mum's the word. They even leased COTA for the upcoming NASCAR race.

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1 hour ago, wood said:

Really? Because I rarely hear a peep about it, except mostly from me & one other guy. But even if they're pissed, they aren't doing much about it, and COTA's still gotten/getting all that money. The Legislature could give a rat's ass if we're pissed about it. It pissed off NASCAR, Bruton Smith & Eddie Gossage of Texas Motor Speedway, too, but now they're on the gravy train & mum's the word. They even leased COTA for the upcoming NASCAR race.

 

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The Ryan’s are heading up a group that is pushing REALLY hard to bring baseball to ATX. All parties involved are succeeding in keeping all info quiet. I pushed and pushed someone involved and was told domain area is the only realistic location, club would be an expansion team, not sure on time frame but likely 5ish years, and the group feels extremely confident that it’s going to happen. They believe MLB wants Austin and Nashville to happen in next expansion.

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2 hours ago, Beau Vine said:

 

Yep, and look who posts there about the MERP. Me, that's who. The rest of that thread is just about things happening out there, and COTA's ability to generally suck in spite of huge subsidies.

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1 minute ago, Ignatius said:

You know how I can tell you’re a realtor?

LOL. Nope. Just a dumb firefighter ... but I can still tell how long it takes to get from point A to point B.

Last time I had to deal with a realtor was 20 years ago when we bought our only home. Went with a highly recommended realtor out of Lakeway. Chick absolutely could not possibly have done less work for that commission. It was like we were doing her a favor, and we didn't really need her. We were just dumb first time buyers who thought we needed someone there to represent us in meetings with the builder. /csb

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4 hours ago, Stunns38 said:

If Austin wanted to play the eminent domain game, 183 and Lamar would be perfect for a stadium. Lots of industry, shitty Apts, and shitty outdated shopping centers.

Don’t underestimate the power of the Vietnamese gang lobby down at City Hall. Those poker games aren’t going to run themselves....

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I don't know who you play with, but poker games aren't supposed to involve revolvers and submerged bamboo cages.  

Diddy Mao!  Mao!  Diddy Mao!  

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  • 2 weeks later...

A few articles about how the Austin Swing never happened back in 1995:

https://www.upi.com/Archives/1995/10/12/The-Austin-Swing-struck-out-before-the-first-batter/7077813470400/

https://www.austinchronicle.com/news/1995-09-22/529795/

Evidently Austin voters rejected a proposal for a bond to pay $10 million to pay for about half of a stadium for an AA team.  Not $10 billion for a train or $60 million a year for the homeless .... a one-time $10 million bond to help with a stadium.  About $18 million in 2021 dollars.  Seems comically low by today's standards.  The city would have received 7% of ticket sales for 20-30 years, plus a portion of concessions and parking and sometime around now the city would have owned the stadium.

The stadium would have probably been somewhere near Pleasant Valley and the river, east of IH-35.

The stadium bond was opposed by a group called Priorities First.  Said group got outed as being run by a group of developers who, and this is not going to surprise you, owned some land in Williamson Co and wanted to bring their own baseball franchise to town.  Or at least close to town.

Bridget Shea was the only Austin City Council member to oppose the project.  She still holds elected office in Travis County.

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Thanks for the links.  I have heard about this story several times, even reviewed the bond proposal in my official capacity.  But didn't really know about the Priorities First group.  The way we throw $10mm around these days, it is---as you said---comically low.  

When the inevitable MLB franchise arrives in Austin one day (a long time from now), we can secure additional financing from the City of Austin by promising to let the homeless live inside the stadium from november thru March.  Plus during those months, a light rail line can run straight through the outfield complete with a temporary station near left-center that carries up to 19 passengers per day at a cost of just $370/person with subsidies.  

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On 4/12/2021 at 11:15 PM, Texas Jeff said:

A few articles about how the Austin Swing never happened back in 1995:

https://www.upi.com/Archives/1995/10/12/The-Austin-Swing-struck-out-before-the-first-batter/7077813470400/

https://www.austinchronicle.com/news/1995-09-22/529795/

Evidently Austin voters rejected a proposal for a bond to pay $10 million to pay for about half of a stadium for an AA team.  Not $10 billion for a train or $60 million a year for the homeless .... a one-time $10 million bond to help with a stadium.  About $18 million in 2021 dollars.  Seems comically low by today's standards.  The city would have received 7% of ticket sales for 20-30 years, plus a portion of concessions and parking and sometime around now the city would have owned the stadium.

The stadium would have probably been somewhere near Pleasant Valley and the river, east of IH-35.

The stadium bond was opposed by a group called Priorities First.  Said group got outed as being run by a group of developers who, and this is not going to surprise you, owned some land in Williamson Co and wanted to bring their own baseball franchise to town.  Or at least close to town.

Bridget Shea was the only Austin City Council member to oppose the project.  She still holds elected office in Travis County.

LOL. Sounds very similar to COTA's Bobby Epstein financing the small opposition to Austin FC, making it seem much bigger than it ever really was.

And of course that hag was the only one in opposition. SOS my ass. She has always been about power, money, and pure self interest. Just like the rest.

Interesting that they chose that Pleasant Valley site. That's one of the sites I threw out there earlier that might handle a stadium.

Edited by wood
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On 4/13/2021 at 7:52 AM, Lobo said:

Thanks for the links.  I have heard about this story several times, even reviewed the bond proposal in my official capacity.  But didn't really know about the Priorities First group.  The way we throw $10mm around these days, it is---as you said---comically low.  

Yep. Hell, the State has thrown nearly a quarter of a billion dollars at COTA and hardly anyone bats an eye.

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It's beyond time for a third NFL and / or MLB team in the state of Texas. However, Austin isn't going to be that city, especially for MLB. I can see the NFL doing a suburban stadium in Austin.

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We'll get an MLB franchise long, long before we would get an NFL franchise.  And we're not getting an MLB franchise for a long while.  

I think the real wild card in all this is an NHL franchise very could be done even close in to downtown than a baseball stadium.  The footprint of the average NHL arena is markedly less than even an NBA area (16k v. 19k).  Moody can't be reconfigured at this point to be able to have a rink.  Even a retrofit down the road would impede on a seating capacity that at its extreme couldn't hold more than high 14k's.  NHL only has two arenas less than 16k, Islanders and Winnipeg.  A new area would likely have to hold 17-18k for the NHL and that ownership group to be happy.  But there's plenty of options for a new build for that size arena very close to downtown.  I think the state of Texas could easily support a second NHL franchise.  It may not seem like a "southern sport", but consider than 9 of the league's 31 teams are in "sunshine states" (2 in SoCal, NV, AZ, Dallas, Nashville, North Carolina, and 2 in Florida.  That's 30% of the league, and they're some of the more profitable franchises.  There's certainly enough people moving here from up north and/or cities that had a franchise when they left there.  Plus you can certainly get a few hundred folks from San Antonio/San Marcos to make it up for each game.  Hockey attendance doesn't do well when it's too far from an urban core/CBD.  

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Yes, it would make a lot of sense.  So much sense that the fact it hasn't already happened means it doesn't make much sense.  

Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tampa Bay, Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville, and Columbus have all received either relocated teams or expansion teams in the last ~20 years despite the whole time, Houston being massively larger than those cities and with better existing facilities and just as much of a moderate "hockey town" vibe than any of those other cities (save for Ohio). 

I've been in Texas 25 years and been following hockey for 40 years, and it's a head scratcher to me to watch city after city get an NHL team while Houston not only can't get one, they lost their AHL franchise.  There must be some other factor we're not seeing.  I'm only going off what an ownership group with strong Texas ties has said about Austin-San Antonio in years past.  I don't know anybody remotely involved with the NHL except partying way too hard at SXSW about 10 years with Bret Hull at a Liz Phair secret show.  Yeah, it got weird.  

But as of right now, Austin would get an NHL team before Houston would. And Austin will get an MLB team long before it gets an NFL franchise.  If Texas ever gets a third NFL team, it will go to San Antonio for certain, full stop.  There'll be no more NBA teams in Texas.  MLB and NHL will add 2 teams and 1 team, respectively within the next 10-12 years.  Austin is very near the top for MLB, not sure about NHL.  What is even more likely though is an existing team to move in either of those sports for Austin.  Ownership groups just do not give the fucks about each other than people think they do.  They come together on player issues/comp and public image problems, but otherwise...they treat their fellow owners like any other business colleague...if we can help each other and make money in the process, great.  If not, fuck you...I'm gonna get mine anyway.  

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On 4/18/2021 at 11:54 AM, Lobo said:

Yes, it would make a lot of sense.  So much sense that the fact it hasn't already happened means it doesn't make much sense.  

Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tampa Bay, Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville, and Columbus have all received either relocated teams or expansion teams in the last ~20 years despite the whole time, Houston being massively larger than those cities and with better existing facilities and just as much of a moderate "hockey town" vibe than any of those other cities (save for Ohio). 

I've been in Texas 25 years and been following hockey for 40 years, and it's a head scratcher to me to watch city after city get an NHL team while Houston not only can't get one, they lost their AHL franchise.  There must be some other factor we're not seeing.  I'm only going off what an ownership group with strong Texas ties has said about Austin-San Antonio in years past.  I don't know anybody remotely involved with the NHL except partying way too hard at SXSW about 10 years with Bret Hull at a Liz Phair secret show.  Yeah, it got weird.  

But as of right now, Austin would get an NHL team before Houston would. And Austin will get an MLB team long before it gets an NFL franchise.  If Texas ever gets a third NFL team, it will go to San Antonio for certain, full stop.  There'll be no more NBA teams in Texas.  MLB and NHL will add 2 teams and 1 team, respectively within the next 10-12 years.  Austin is very near the top for MLB, not sure about NHL.  What is even more likely though is an existing team to move in either of those sports for Austin.  Ownership groups just do not give the fucks about each other than people think they do.  They come together on player issues/comp and public image problems, but otherwise...they treat their fellow owners like any other business colleague...if we can help each other and make money in the process, great.  If not, fuck you...I'm gonna get mine anyway.  

My memory is hazy so some of the details here might be a bit off, but the gist of this is correct: 

Houston didn't get an NHL team because of a pissing match between Les Alexander (the former owner of the Rockets) and Chuck Watson (the owner of the Aeros, landlord for the old Rockets Arena, and the man who had the rights to a Houston hockey team). Alexander felt that Watson was overcharging him on rent at the Summit.  Alexander also got the rights to the Toyota Center when it opened.  To be petty he charged Watson exorbitant rent to play at Toyota Center.  The Aeros moved to Des Moines because they refused to pay so much in rent, despite having the third(or so) highest attendance in the AHL.  Alexander eventually sold the Rockets to Tillman Fertitta, who also has the rights to any NHL team in Houston, so things are at least smoothed out as far as ownership.

That being said the NHL has shown a tendency to place expansion teams in cities with no other sports teams rather than the major pro city/cities in their state (ie Columbus and Raleigh Durham).  Still, the fact that Houston has an ownership group and arena already in place is a pretty big leg up, along with the population and wealth in the city.  Fertitta bought the Rockets too late for Houston to be considered for expansion (and Seattle was a virtual lock anyway), but there has been a lot of talk about the Coyotes moving to Houston (Kansas City and Quebec are the two other names that come upmost frequently for relocation).

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On 4/3/2021 at 3:15 PM, SirLurksAlot said:

The Ryan’s are heading up a group that is pushing REALLY hard to bring baseball to ATX. All parties involved are succeeding in keeping all info quiet. I pushed and pushed someone involved and was told domain area is the only realistic location, club would be an expansion team, not sure on time frame but likely 5ish years, and the group feels extremely confident that it’s going to happen. They believe MLB wants Austin and Nashville to happen in next expansion.

The Ryan's what?  The Ryan's lawyers? 

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2 minutes ago, Beau Vine said:

How is the NHL affiliated with the Toyota Center?

Any NHL team will have to play there. Fertitta controls the lease and can effectively block any other potential owner by not renting to them or offering an exorbitant deal. Les Alexander, the Rockets previous owner,  ran off the Aeros by offering shitty terms. 

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6 minutes ago, Beau Vine said:

Why couldn't the ownership build their own arena?

I guess they could but but they damn sure wouldn’t get any public money. That expense along with the franchise fee would make it financially unviable. Not to mention the difficulty in renting the facility the other 300+ days a year when there already is a good, downtown facility already in place. 

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4 hours ago, Beau Vine said:

How exactly does this work?

https://www.dailypress.com/news/dp-xpm-19970114-1997-01-14-9701140025-story.html

Sorry I worded it poorly.  Here's an explanation of how Watson and Alexander blew it in 1997.

Quote

It's widely believed that NHL owners want to award the first two franchises to Atlanta and Houston because of their huge television markets. Nashville's state-of-the-art arena and sweetheart lease make it the logical third choice. The fourth spot appears open.

But several NHL sources have hinted that the league will not go into Houston if Watson and Alexander keep feuding, meaning two spots could be open.

 

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That list makes sense.  I mean yeah, Florida is in the South...but it's its own kinda butthole.  So the "South" really only still has one team, the Braves.  Charlotte or Nashville make lots of sense for expansion.  As does a second Canadian team.  Portland and Las Vegas look like the weak links on that list, but still quite viable.  

As I've stated above about Austin, the indicators I got were that it would receive a relocated franchise long before an expansion team.  And even that's a long shot.  

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19 minutes ago, UTPhil2006 said:

Nashville seems like the most logical choice

I think Vegas should be the frontrunner. It has a lot of momentum, sports wise, with the NHL success and the Raiders move. In 2019,  thei Aviators had the best attendance of any MILB team. The explosion of sports betting doesn’t hurt either. 

Edited by TonyTexas
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/12/2021 at 1:25 PM, Paul said:

Stadium at the race track....right next to the new amusement park

By 'amusement park', I assume you mean the 20-something year old, recently-retired & disassembled UK roller coaster that COTA's Epstein bought & is shipping over here. I dunno about y'all, but I'm not getting anywhere near a roller coaster Bobby Epstein is responsible for reassembling and maintaining.

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Vegas makes sense for the NFL (and even the NHL), but I just don't see it for Major League Baseball.  Portland makes the most geographic sense, but I wonder if there's a division realignment if Montreal, Nashville, or Louisville are picked.

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I don't know why they wouldn't just let them move to San Jose/Santa Clara like they already tried to do and let them write a check to the Giants. 

There's no fucking way they're coming to Texas (which would require similar checks to both the Astros and the Rangers), and MLB is going to keep markets like Charlotte, Montreal, and Portland open for potential $billion expansion fees. 

 

Edited by Beau Vine
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I don't know why they wouldn't just let them move to San Jose/Santa Clara like they already tried to do and let them write a check to the Giants.


The Giants have blocked them any time they’ve tried to move south in the Bay Area.

It’s the A’s... they’re not exactly eager to write big checks.
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22 hours ago, dbecks said:

Vegas makes sense for the NFL (and even the NHL), but I just don't see it for Major League Baseball.  Portland makes the most geographic sense, but I wonder if there's a division realignment if Montreal, Nashville, or Louisville are picked.

Why NFL and not MLB?  Vegas' AAA team draws very well.

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5 minutes ago, TrashMaster G said:

Why NFL and not MLB?  Vegas' AAA team draws very well.

The Aviators drew almost 10k per game in 2019 but a lot of that was because of a new $150mm stadium.  Prior to that the team averaged around 5k. 

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