I can't believe I'm about to write this post. First, because I hate soccer. (Yes, I know it's the great worldwide sport, but I find it the game to be as boring as a Richard Attenborough biopic.) Second, because I hate it when cities help to finance new sporting palaces for rich team owners. But yet, this post I'm writing.
Various Houston media sources are reporting that the city has signed letters of intent to acquire enough tracts of land between the George R. Brown and MMP -- on the other side of the freeway -- to build the Houston Dynamo their own, brand new, pleasure palace.
There just seems to be a hold up. The Dynamo have yet to sign any papers, and there's still some haggling going on over who's paying for what. It appears that for once in this city, the owner of a sports franchise is actually going to pay the cost of building the pleasure palace, which would be quite the welcome relief. But the Dynamo are trying to get the city to pony up the cost for all of the infrastructure development.
Mayor Bill White says the deal is "not going to be done the way it was done with other stadiums, where the taxpayers picked up the tab," which might be true. However, if the city purchased the land, then that money had to come from somewhere. But it's a hell of lot cheaper purchasing the land for the stadium than it is picking up the majority of the construction costs. I'm interested in hearing how the land transfer is going to go, however. Is the city just going to give this land to the Dynamo? Will the Dynamo be excused from paying taxes on the land, will they be leasing the land, etc.?
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The other major hold up to completing this deal is this: the Anschutz Entertainment Group, the current owner of the Dynamo, has put the team up for sale. So, knowing the way the city operates, I can see a deal being signed with AEG to build the stadium, then AEG selling the team and refusing to build the stadium because it doesn't have a team, and the new owner saying he didn't agree to build a stadium and holding a gun to the city's head to get the taxpayers to pony up the funding.
Then again, maybe I'm just being paranoid. It's not like Drayton McLane owns the team. Or Bud Adams. Or Bob McNair. Or Les Alexander. So if Mayor White can get this thing built without major bucks coming from my pocket, then go for it.
P.S.: Yes, I realize soccer is a beautiful sport of non-stop action. And I'm overjoyed that you enjoy it. I have just never been able to get into the thing. However, my favorite sport is baseball and I'm often told by people that baseball is the boringest thing ever invented. – John Royal