March 29, 2005
I was appalled when I read that D.C. officials are trying to raise some cash by leasing the naming rights of RFK Stadium. They are hoping for $2 million per year, for the next three years. This seems like a travesty, but "RFK Stadium" will remain part of the name, much as "Mile High Stadium" remains part of the name of Denver's new football venue, but with a corporate appendage (Invesco). In addition, Bobby Kennedy's widow Ethel apparently agreed to the change, because the funds are supposedly being earmarked for children's programs in the District. We'll see... Response from corporate bidders has been slower than anticipated, and rumors are that a local telecommunicatons company has an inside track. (Is it Verizon? Since their spokesperson James Earl Jones co-starred in Field of Dreams, I suppose that is appropriate.) See washingtonpost.com.
Peter Angelos is still haggling over terms for compensation and broadcast rights, with less than a week to go before Opening Day. (The first Nationals home game is still more than two weeks away, however.) Today's Washington Post editorialized on this situation:
In fact, such a deal is a rip-off that would deflate the Nationals' value and imperil the task of finding a buyer for the franchise -- an orphan that is now the collective property of baseball's 29 team owners. What prospective Nationals' owner would cede control of broadcasting rights to a rival -- to say nothing of a rival as truculent as Mr. Angelos? Might as well trade away the team's best sluggers and star pitchers.
Orioles' ticket sales have apparently declined by at least ten percent compared to a year ago. That is in line with what most people expected, but much less than Angelos had claimed. (He used to say that one fourth of Orioles' fans came from the Washington area.) Meanwhile, some tickets for Opening Day at RFK Stadium (which quickly sold out) are going for over $1000!
I've come up with a design for a Proposed new D.C. stadium. (Yes, folks, that is one of the main things that has occupying my time in the last few days.) What do you think? Too wacky? Too symmetrical? Tell me what features you think the new stadium should have.
Thanks to Bruce Orser for the following links to images of two under-construction stadiums: ballparkconstruction.com, about the future Busch Stadium, scheduled to open in , and ballpark.org, about Safeco Field in Seattle, which opened in 1999. And thanks to Mike Zurawski for alerting me to a small mistake in the diagram for the newly renovated version of Dodger Stadium, which has now been fixed. Finally, I have recalibrated the "countdown clock" for Opening Day in D.C., which is presently 16 days away (not 14).