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In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.

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Monday January 04 2010

In the small hours of this morning Channel 5 TV showed the NFL game between the New York Jets and the Cincinnati Bengals, which the Jets won 37-0.  So far as I could make out, skipping through the recording, the Bengals weren’t really trying.  The Jets had to win, but the Bengals didn’t need the win.  Apparently there will be a Play Off rematch next Sunday, which will be for real.

Of far greater interest to me than the game were the occasional aerial glimpses of the stadium in which the game was played, alongside the new stadium that the Jets will be using next season.  The best I could find on the internet of this was this:

image

What I like about this photograph is that it is both magnificent, consisting as it does of two magnificently grand structures, and yet nevertheless temporary, which regulars here will know is a quality I particularly treasure in photographs.  I mean, if the thing is going to be there indefinitely, why make such a fuss of recording what it looks like.  But these two Things will only spend a few short years next to one another.  No sooner has the second of them been constructed, than the first will be destroyed.  Apparently, they are so close together that the old one won’t be exploded, as that would endanger the new one.  It will have to be slowly broken to bits, with such antiquated tools as balls hanging from cranes.

I’m not at all clear whether these two stadiums are or were for the Giants and which the Jets.  It was the Jets playing in the smaller one of them last night.  But I rather think they were playing in the Giants Stadium.  Or something.  No matter.

A bonus - observation wheel at the upper right corner of the picture.
Another one of BM-dot-com favorite subjects.

Posted by Tatyana on 05 January 2010

The bit I don’t like about these stadiums is the blithe assumption that they should be built entirely (or mostly) with taxpayers’ money. Some of these schemes cost in the region of a billion dollars or so. With several dozen cities across the USA competing for ever more grandiose projects, they contribute to local government debts.

It’s not as though sport in the USA was not run as a business and incapable of generating the revenue to pay for stadiums by voluntarist means.

That said, I’ve been to the Great American Ball Park http://reds.mlb.com/cin/ballpark/index.jsp and what is most impressive about it is the design of the bits behind the seats: huge areas for buying refreshments and memorabilia, but also (it seemed to me) very effective ways in and out to avoid long queues or crushing. None of this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillsborough_Disaster

Again, I was struck by what a waste of riverfront property the Cincinnati Reds baseball stadium is: negative value to the economy (subsidies to build, location making access from the south restricted [the Ohio river]), whereas private development would have generated homes or businesses that took advantage of the location. Looks good but other side of town and self-financed would be better.

Posted by Antoine Clarke on 05 January 2010

“It was the Jets playing in the smaller one of them last night.  But I rather think they were playing in the Giants Stadium.  Or something.  No matter.”

Groundsharing. These stadiums are actually in New Jersey, not New York - from next season both the Giants and the Jets will play at the new stadium. A similar arrangement between the Italian football teams A.C. Milan and Internazionale has been in place in Milan since the 1920s - and the same is true for Genoa and Sampdoria and used to be true for Crystal Palace and Wimbledon in London until a few years ago.

“Again, I was struck by what a waste of riverfront property the Cincinnati Reds baseball stadium is… whereas private development would have generated homes or businesses that took advantage of the location.”

Did they have any viable alternative site? For people who don’t care about baseball, the appellation “waste” might come a little too easy, but for the baseball fans it would be a different story. But then they had no right to expect everybody else to pay for their stadium through taxation.

There is a somewhat interesting irony here in that the major baseball and “football” teams in the U.S. receive rather large public subsidies, whereas in England (and elsewhere in Europe, excluding Spain and Italy), big football teams are run on a largely private basis but with similarly vast sums of money involved. These U.S. stadiums are quite literally monuments to American self-disgrace.

Posted by mike on 05 January 2010

Mike: also Bayern München and 1860 München. Both used to play at the 1972 Olympic Arena - a fine piece of modern architecture but apparently not much cop as a football stadium - and now at the recently built, to the accompaniment of much scandal about corruption & bribery, Allianz Arena, outside Munich to the north on the way to the airport. The outside of the stadium is translucent, and is lit blue when 1860 are playing and red when Bayern are playing. Looks quite impressive from the Autobahn. (Not sure what colour it is for Derbies)

1860’s original stadium also still exists, but is too small and decrepit to be of much use for anything these days.

1860 and Bayern München are a similar setup to Man Utd and City, 1860 being the local working man’s team.

Posted by Alan Little on 05 January 2010

Ground sharing is extremely common in Australia, due to (a) the fact that it wouldn’t occur to Australian clubs that they should own and build their own grounds, as this is obviously the job of the government, (b) the fact that for historical reasons, our sporting leagues are only quasi-national, and a league might contain eight or more teams from Sydney or Melbourne, so there are lots of teams in the same city to share, and (c) the same grounds are used for multiple sports. (The seasons of “winter” and “summer” sports do not overlap to facilitate this). Therefore, in some instances the same stadium might be the “home” ground for half a dozen different teams.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 05 January 2010

“1860 and Bayern München are a similar setup to Man Utd and City, 1860 being the local working man’s team.”

I quite forgot about the Munich teams - which is strange because I have been there and walked around the old Olympic stadium (which yes, is rubbish by today’s standards but is still something to look at).

I think that working class image of certain clubs is overblown especially in the cases of Manchester City and 1860 Munich - it’s just that their rivals have enjoyed so much more success so they attract “prawn-sandwich” supporters in addition to the working class supporters they already had.

The rivalry of local teams is also a very modern thing - back in the day it was considered normal to go and watch both Newcastle and Sunderland football teams (for example). It’s often said that the rise of the car put an end to that by making travel cheaper and increasing ticket prices such that fans faced a choice between one team and the other. I wonder whether this is true.

Posted by mike on 08 January 2010
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