Rise of the Ballpark Proletariet?

The News Tribune’s staff writer Lewis Kamb tries to make a big deal out of the $357,500 the City of Tacoma (WA) recently spent on furniture, fixtures, and equipment for luxury suites, clubhouses, and team offices at the new Cheney Stadium, home of the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers, that the paying masses in the cheap seats will never see.

First, except for an item or two, we didn’t find the pricetag for furniture, fixtures, and equipment to be out of line with the real world.  Second, if Kamb wants to attack the city for actually agreeing to pay for these items in the first place as part of legally binding contract, then he should stick to that attack without dramatizing the issue with class warfare.  Finally, by placing the key arguments for the “defense” in the last three paragraphs before the final sentence in his article, we suspect the strategy here was to stir up the public on the front end with the expectation that fans might throw up their hands in disgust before reading the entire prose.  Why?  Controversy sells newspapers (or generates website traffic for online ad sales).  Read more here.


Filed under Amenities & Features, Lease & Contracts, Stadium Issues

2 responses to “Rise of the Ballpark Proletariet?

  1. Chris Scanlon

    You still haven’t answered the key question in his article: why should the average taxpayer have to pay for improvements to luxury boxes that they most likely will never see? Sure, you could rest your case on the fact that the city made a binding agreement to pay for these improvements. That said, does that make it right? From following your site I am learning that minor league baseball stadiums and the deals that politicians make to have them built have little do with the good of the average tax payer. The situation in Ramapo is classic example of this (which I predict in ten years or less will be another Sussex Skyhawks situation). The benefits to the town and it’s people are very questionable in these situations. Perhaps using the term “class warfare” is on the dramatic side when talking about tiered seating systems at minor league parks, but there is not doubt that middle class fans are slowly getting squeezed out of major league baseball games with escalating ticket, food and parking costs. Do you deny that the average fan of twenty years ago can afford to bring a family of four to a Phillies, Mets or Yankees game?

    • ballparkbiz

      Whether or not taxpayers should be paying for a new ballpark, luxury amenities, or whatever is up to each community. If citizens have objection, they have an obligation to rise up and hold elected officials accountable. That said, construction and lease contracts can be structured in many, many different ways, and the deal in Tacoma is just one of them. Maybe the Rainiers could have agreed to a little less than a $500k per year lease payment and paid for furniture, fixtures, and equipment themselves. What difference does it make?

      Will the Ramapo ballpark become a failure within 10 years? Any prediction about the ballpark’s future a decade from now is pure speculation.

      I am not sure why you bring up Major League Baseball. This has nothing to do with it. A family can go to any minor league ballpark in America for the price of going to the movies or bowling. It’s the best “average taxpayer” entertainment deal in town.


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