Four Downs – July 17th: Solving AZ’s stadium dilemma

FIRST DOWN: The Phoenix area needs new stadiums / sporting attractions – where should / will they go?

This one is super easy to me and would make everyone happy.

But let’s first run down what needs fixing / replaced:

Chase Field: Opened in 1998. The Diamondbacks are asking for $180 million in stadium improvements from Maricopa County…and they’re not getting very far.

Talking Stick Resort Arena: Opened in 1993. To me, I think it’s still a fine arena as it’s been renovated multiple times and still feels fresh. The Suns disagree and will likely be getting a replacement sooner than later.

Gila River Arena: Opened in 2003. Great hockey venue except for the fact that the Coyotes won’t be playing there come Fall 2018.

-Turf Paradise Race Course: Opened in 1956. Completely run down and archaic. Something needs to be done or the Phoenix-area will lose horse racing for good very soon.

-Soccer Stadium: The small pop-up stadium at McKellips and McClintock is fine for a minor league soccer team but will need to be fully constructed with 30,000+ seats for an MLS team. At least the location of the larger soccer stadium, if and when necessary, is ideal.

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Pretty much every team / professional sport other than the Cardinals needs a new venue. And there’s a logical place to put most of these teams…on the Native American land across the 101 from Salt River Fields and next to Talking Stick casino. It makes perfect sense.

Here’s what I would propose:

-Suns / Coyotes: Build a shared 20,000 seat arena in Scottsdale adjacent to Talking Stick casino. It would be state of the art, in an ideal location around town, and allow visitors easy access to the casino next door. Just as Las Vegas did in building TMobile Arena behind the New York New York Hotel & Casino, this would be the ideal solution for Arizona’s NBA and NHL teams.

-Horse Racing: Build a new track near the proposed arena and Talking Stick casino. There are multiple reasons this would be an instant success for all involved.
1. Plenty of successful racetracks around the country have slot machines. Current Arizona gaming rules prohibit slot machines not on Native American land. Putting a track at Talking Stick would most definitely add to attendance.
2. With more attendance comes more revenue.
3. With more revenue comes higher purses / better quality of racing. Currently California is looking for tracks to fill in racing dates since the closing of Hollywood Park several years ago. Could a new racetrack here in town be the answer to California’s dilemma?

Adding a new multipurpose arena and horse racing track at Talking Stick would create a sporting environment so unique and exciting. But what about downtown?

That’s where the Diamondbacks come into play. Unless downtown Phoenix wants to lose the momentum it has gained in recent years (and possibly its baseball team), they must cater to the D-Backs’ demands. While building a new stadium might cost taxpayers / the team / the city in excess of $750 million, renovating Chase Field would be no more than 1/3 of that cost.

So step up to the plate Maricopa County…keep the Diamondbacks happy where they are for many years to come.

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SECOND DOWN: Despite a DISASTROUS sweep in Atlanta this weekend, the Diamondbacks are still going to make the playoffs, right?

First of all, let’s get one thing straight so I never have to talk about it in the blog again this year…the D-Backs WILL NOT catch the Dodgers at the top of the National League West during the regular season. LA’s lead today is 10.5 games and I’d be surprised if they finish any less than 18 games up before the end of the regular season.

As I see it, there are only four teams that can catch the Diamondbacks and Rockies (1 game behind AZ) in the Wild Card race; the Brewers (currently leading the Central), the Cubs (6.5 back of AZ), the Braves (7 back of AZ), and the Cardinals (8.5 back of AZ).

Arizona and Colorado both possess lethal hitting lineups though questions can be found regarding the pitching staffs of both teams. The Braves and Cardinals don’t have the pitching in order to win 10 in-a-row which it will take for those teams to catch up. Also, it looks as though I was wrong about the Cubs who were brilliant in a sweep this weekend at Baltimore. They very well could pass the Brewers and win the Central division.

My prediction: Zack Greinke starts the Wild Card game for Arizona at home against the Milwaukee Brewers.

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THIRD DOWN: Check out the food prices at Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium! Is this the start of a trend to improve fan experience around sports?

TWO dollars each for a coke and a hot dog!? SIX dollars for my personal stadium favorite, chicken tenders and fries!?

It SHOULD be the new trend…but unfortunately these food prices will be an anomaly compared to other sporting venues. I’m not sure if this is a way to be able to charge higher prices for Falcons / selected college football game tickets at the stadium but either way, fans across the country are already embracing the concept.

As someone who travels to quite a few games on a yearly basis, I want two things from teams / venues going forward: cheap(er) concessions and (decent) free parking. If I’m paying what I consider semi-exorbitant prices for tickets, this is the least teams can do for me to further enjoy the experience.

Are you reading this University of Phoenix stadium folks??

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FOURTH DOWN: My top five plays to win this weekend’s British Open are:

Sorry U.S. golf fans…the winner of Europe’s most prized golf tournament won’t be an American. Take this picks to Vegas at your own risk.

(Odds courtesy of BetOnline.ag)

5. Thomas Pieters (50-1): He can hit the ball a country mile but misses too many fairways. Boom or bust potential.

4. Justin Rose (18-1): Seems to always play well in the big tournaments. After losing in a playoff to Sergio Garcia at THE MASTERS, Rose is primed to win his first British Open title.

3. Bernd Wiesberger (125-1): Incredibly consistent on the European Tour. Might be a better option for top 5 and top 10 bets.

2. Hideki Matsuyama (22-1): Excellent ball-striker who minimizes mistakes. Is overdue to win a major.

1. Paul Casey (33-1): Played well in this year’s U.S. Open and tied for 7th in the last Open held at Royal Birkdale in 2008.

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I’m going with former ASU golfer and current Scottsdale resident, Paul Casey, to take home the Claret Jug this weekend.

Coming Wednesday: The best over/under win totals bets for college football and the NFL in 2017.

Check out the best of the blog HERE!

4 thoughts on “Four Downs – July 17th: Solving AZ’s stadium dilemma

  1. Completely agree that the Suns and Coyotes need to be in a shared building but think it should be downtown Phoenix not Scottsdale. My idea is for the 2018-2019 seasons Suns and Coyotes play in Gila River Arena while Talking Stick Resort Arena is renovated to be updated like today’s modern arenas and a duel purpose facility. Should be able to complete this from May 2018 to September 2019. I know the Suns don’t want to share an arena but if they want any tax money from the city or county or state it should be required that it is for a shared facility. Scottsdale would be the next best location after downtown Phoenix, but you will have the same issues that Glendale has now with traffic if the arena is near Talking Stick during the week, just closer to more people in the valley. Better but still a big headache.

    Like the idea of the race track near Talking Stick.

    Uber, Lyft or public transportation is the way to go for some many reasons when going to games. Quicker in and out, cheaper than parking, and less liability with your car being exposed and someone else driving/transporting.

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    1. Good thoughts, Steve! Obviously keeping the professional teams in downtown Phoenix is ideal…but not sure it’s in all three of the Suns, Coyotes, and D-Backs best interests to be there simultaneously.

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  2. Agree with Steve’s comment;s…but growing up in Phoenix and attending all the sporting venues in the valley, Phoenix fans HAVE IT MADE. Nothing like Living in Houston (where I live now) , Chicago, Seattle, etc and dealing with REAL traffic. My dad gave up his Coyotes tickets long ago when they moved out to glendale…but that was due to the team placed near a vast wasteland which made zero sense *unlike the Cards decision, 1 game a week

    Love the idea of moving Suns/Coyotes out to Talking Stick resort area. Makes perfect sense.

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