The A’s still don’t know where Las Vegas stadium funds are coming from

The Las Vegas Stadium Authority had a big meeting on Thursday, and you’ll never guess what happened next.

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Good news, everyone. The Las Vegas Stadium Authority held a meeting on Thursday to clear up all kinds of financial details about how the A’s stadium is going to be paid for. In typical A’s/Vegas fashion, the only thing that’s clearer after this is that no one knows what they’re doing or what’s happening.

As stated before, $380 million is coming from Nevada — though there was once again a claim that the A’s won’t use the full $380 million allotted them, as they’ll supposedly leave $30 million on the table, how generous of them — with the rest coming from personal seat license sales — PSLs — and the rest from financing. As Neil deMause noted on Thursday before the meeting when looking at the documentation released to the public beforehand, we didn’t get clarification on what John Fisher is actually paying for this stadium, or where he’s getting the money from:

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Notes: Scheduling jewel events, trading draft picks

All-Star Game week means All-Star Game week press conferences to pick apart.

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MLB’s All-Star week means it’s time for the Home Run Derby and a glorified exhibition game, but more importantly for our purposes, it’s also a time of press conferences. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred fields all kinds of questions related to the health of the game, and he even manages to answer some of them without being visibly annoyed about it, too.

One question was related to the Rangers receiving the 2024 All-Star Game, despite the fact that they don’t have a Pride Night during the season. Which is a thing that’s weird in a vacuum, but when you add in the context that they’re the only MLB team that doesn’t hold a Pride Night event, well. It sticks out, you know?

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Pirates’ ownership lies about spending to its own front office, too

Pirates’ ownership is throwing their own front office under the bus in public for not making the moves they aren’t being allowed to make.

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Over at Pittsburgh Baseball Now, John Perrotto writes that the Pirates’ front office was “furious” over owner Bob Nutting’s June 21 comments on there being money and opportunity to add to the team’s roster before the trade deadline. Why would something like that make a front office angry? Well, because that’s just what Nutting said to the public: in private, to the front office itself, he told them the opposite.

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Let’s check in on the White Sox

The White Sox are having the worst season in MLB, but let’s see how close they are to being historically bad.

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Good news, White Sox fans! Your team is no longer on pace to have the worst season of the modern era. When we last checked in on June 3, the White Sox were 15-45, good for a win percentage of .250, and had been outscored by 134 runs on the season. They were on pace for 122 losses if you rounded up, which was two more than the 1962 expansion Mets. In the month-plus since, though, the White Sox have just been regular bad, as far as wins and losses are concerned, instead of historically so.

They’re now 26-66, so, they put up an 11-21 record since we last looked in on them. Over 162 games, that’s a 106-loss pace. How very dull. This mini surge has the White Sox now on pace for 116 losses on the season, which would make them worse than the 2018 Orioles (115 defeats), but better than the 2003 Tigers and those aforementioned Mets.

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Notes: Record stadium subsidy, John Henry speaks, gambling threats

The Rays are close to getting an admitted horrible deal for St. Petersburg, John Henry reminded people why he doesn’t give interviews anymore, and players are being threatened by gambling addicts.

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Usually the story told to cities and the public about stadium subsidies is that the new sports venue will be great for the local economy, it’ll pay for itself over time, etc. etc. So it’s kind of perversely funny that it’s already known that St. Petersburg’s nearly approved deal for a new Rays stadium will provide no revenue return to the city. City council member Richie Floyd, who is against the deal, has already said as much publicly: it didn’t even take some digging into the proposed deal from journalists to uncover that key piece of information.

What makes it even worse is that this is a $1.6 billion stadium subsidy, per Neil deMause’s calculations last month: the current record is Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium, at $750 million, which means St. Pete is more than doubling that rate. Completely absurd, but just five of their eight city councilors are needed to approve the deal, anyway, and they’ve supposedly got the numbers for the July 11 final vote.

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Notes: Public team ownership, A’s ballpark funds

A deep dive worth diving into, and my latest from BP, plus a response to a comment there.

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R.J. Anderson has done some deep dives over the years at CBS Sports, but Tuesday’s feature might be one of the deepest: he looked at the history of private team ownership in professional sports, why it’s worked, why it’s been obstructed, and why it could be a useful rejoinder to the exceptionally greedy, corporate mentality that plagues pro sports today.

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Notes: A’s request to not play in Las Vegas after move to Vegas, MLB gambling

The A’s haven’t even moved to Sacramento, never mind Las Vegas, and they’re already trying to skip playing home games in Vegas. Plus some thoughts on MLB and “mixed messaging” regarding gambling.

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According to a report from the Nevada Independent, the A’s proposal for their 30-year non-relocation agreement requests up allowing up to eight home games per year to be played at neutral sites. So, not the Las Vegas ballpark. Sure, being able to go to London and play or what have you can be a thing MLB teams do, but up to eight per year is a lot, and the A’s want to do it in order to build their brand.

To be fair, their brand is in the toilet, but hey things are more complicated than what the whims of the A’s suggest. Which is pretty normal, really.

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Notes: The Las Vegas A’s stadium is on track unless it isn’t, Yankees sustainability, MLB absorbs Negro League stats

The Las Vegas A’s remain more conceptual than anything, the Yankees utter a word that would have killed The Boss, and Negro League statistics are now MLB statistics.

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If you ask the people behind the Las Vegas A’s stadium push, everything is great! There’s no need to worry; everything is happening as it’s supposed to, we’re happy to take questions so long as they aren’t about where A’s owner John Fisher is going to get the additional financing needed to actually build the thing. If you ask people who know how these things work, though, who aren’t unregistered lobbyists, well. Neil deMause handled that at Field of Schemes already this week:

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Notes: Tax loophole, MLB realignment, Oakland sells Coliseum, NCAA settlement

More on the tax loophole, a couple of thoughts on realignment, Oakland’s stadium situation gets additional wrinkles, and the NCAA is primed for a major change.

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Lots to get through today, so let’s get to it.

I went in deeper on the billionaire sports owner tax loophole news for Baseball Prospectus earlier in the week, getting into the origins of the loophole, what it is, why it’s a problem, and why we should hope the IRS decided to remove or rewrite it. The shorter version of it is that it would keep, say, a team that costs $2 billion from pretending 80 percent of the team’s valuation is going to lose value instead of gaining it like what happens with sports franchises simply for existing, allowing them to avoid $650 million in taxes over the next 15 years that they really should have paid. The longer version, well, I wrote that for BP, and while you need a subscription for that, at the least, you could always read the ProPublica reporting from three years ago on the subject.

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Fanatics claims it owns your kids’ likeness rights, forever

Fanatics has their latest cost-cutting scheme, and it’s trying to get perpetual likeness rights from children and potential future minor leaguers years before they go pro.

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Thanks to some excellent reporting from Britt Ghiroli at The Athletic, we now know what the latest chapter in the “everything Fanatics touches is terrible in some way” saga is. Fanatics is partnering together with Perfect Game, the “world’s largest baseball scouting service” which serves as both a showcase for amateur players and a high-level competitive environment for amateur baseball, in order to create memorabilia for these kids. Sounds innocent enough, right? Of course there’s another layer to all of this.

Perfect Game already had kids giving up the rights to their likenesses, as agents have been warning parents for a couple of years now about the practice, but, as Scott Boras told Ghiroli, “They have now gotten into profit-taking on this.” Amateurs can’t have agents, but agents can advise them, and not signing is one thing they’re being advised about now.

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