Arena · Ballpark · Stadium

Owners love to give deadlines for new stadiums. They mean nothing.

Recently, I came across several old articles discussing how owners of NBA, NFL and MLB teams all set these dates as the last time that they would talk to their local county/city/state officials about building a new sports home for their respective teams. In virtually every single instance, the dates were meant to come off as a threat yet meant absolutely nothing. Most of the deadlines passed and everything continued as it was before.

So, I thought it would be a good idea to go over some of the most well-known fake deadlines given.

Arizona Coyotes

– ABC15
The Arizona Coyotes have set so many meaningless arena deadlines in the past that the local newspaper started off a story stating:

“Stop us if you’ve heard this before — the Arizona Coyotes may be just “weeks” from an announcement about a new arena. Again. Still. Or something. Or not….Friday marks (Team President of the Coyotes) LeBlanc’s latest self-imposed deadline for an announcement about a future venue.”

– AZCentral, 06/23/16

Even going back to 2010, the NHL has even gotten into the action by giving their own deadline for a new stadium to be agreed upon…..which came and went with no consequence.

The team did, however, understand the deadline given to them by the city of Glendale in late 2021. The city told the team that if they didn’t pay debts owed to them soon, the city would lock Gila River Arena and the Coyotes wouldn’t be able to play there. The next day, the Coyotes paid the debts.

Oakland A’s

– East Oakland Stadium Alliance Twitter
Like the Coyotes, the Oakland A’s have set several pointless deadlines over the years for their hopeful new ballpark. The latest came last year when after the team succeeded in getting the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission to vote in favor of allowing them the ability to build on the Howard Terminal site.

But don’t get too happy because:

“While the BCDC’s approval was a major milestone for the development, the project is far from a done deal. A’s team officials are on a tight self-imposed deadline to finish negotiating with city officials by the November election, with the team’s current lease at the Oakland Coliseum set to expire in 2024.”

– Mercury News, 06/30/22

Then deadline came and went. Guess what? The city of Oakland continues to negotiate with the A’s…..well, them and Las Vegas city officials. But just in case anyone forgot, the MLB commissioner decided to give Oakland yet ANOTHER deadline to get a new ballpark agreement done.

Chicago Cubs

The second deadline was now coming up. When reporters asked the Mayor if he was concerned about the second deadline passing, the response was quite simply: “No“.

What happened?

“But on this day — the team’s home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers and a self-imposed deadline to strike an accord with the city and small business owners — there was no news to report other than that talks were continuing.”

– NBCChicago, 04/08/13

So the second self-imposed deadline passed and both sides simply continued negotiating. This was now the second time that the Cubs had given a date, the date had passed and the Cubs continued publicly stating that they would keep trying to get a resolution. Not to worry though as as the Cubs owner “remains confident one is there to be made.”

Third time is a charm?

Philadelphia Eagles

– Crossing Broad
Back in 2000, the city of Philadelphia and the Eagles had been negotiating on a new stadium. The Eagles decided to set a self-imposed deadline in which the city must present the stadium proposal to the city council so that the team could begin play in their new stadium for the 2003 season. Eagles executives went public about their concerns and how the team was “at a fork in the road right now“.

The deadline passed and nothing happened. Both sides continued negotiating and they eventually came to a deal in May of 2001. In it, the city/state funded almost $200 million of the $500 million required to build a new stadium.

One would think that if an area is paying for almost 40% of the project, then local people, groups and colleges could also use the stadium, at minimal cost, on anyone of the 350+ days in which the stadium isn’t being used. Right? Let’s ask the local Temple Eagles, who have played their home games at Lincoln Financial Field since 2003.

“Since 2003, the school has been paying the Eagles $1.8 million a year to use the stadium. The Eagles get to keep the money from concessions and parking, too. With the end of that deal nearing in 2017, the Eagles now want Temple to pay $12 million for renovations and then around $3 million per year going forward.”

–, 01/21/16

Is that it?

Detroit Tigers

In the late 1990’s, the Detroit Tigers owner, Michael Ilitch, went around the country looking at other cities ballparks in the hopes of getting Detroit to pony up additional money for a new ballpark. It didn’t work so he set a deadline for April of 1997.

“The Detroit Tigers Monday announced that they may have to move outside the City of Detroit in order to build their new stadium by their self-imposed deadline of 1997.”

–, 03/24/94

Let’s just forget that the city of Detroit had just given the Tigers $8 million in renovations the previous year. Anyway, the April deadline passed. Nobody moved cities. Later in 1997, the Tigers would eventually come to an agreement with the city and Comerica Ballpark would eventually be built.

On a side note, is it any wonder why the Ilitch family always needs the city of Detroit to give them most of the money for any one of their new sports homes? When the Ilitch’s went to the banks to help with the financing of Comerica Ballpark…..well….

“The Tigers reportedly sought more than $250 million in financing through asset-backed securitization from FleetBoston Financial and Merrill Lynch in 2000, but the plan collapsed when credit rating agencies wouldn’t grade the Tigers’ debt high enough to be attractive to investors…..A 2001 refinancing attempt also failed.”

– Crain’s Detroit Business, 08/22/12


Miami Marlins

– Business Insider
The Miami Marlins wanted a new ballpark. Nevermind that the city had spent many millions in renovations on Sun Life Stadium not that long ago so that baseball could be brought to Miami.

So, they set out a deadline for the city to give them a new home. The city HAD to have an agreement done on March 15 of that year or else the Marlins couldn’t open the 2007 season in the new ballpark.

“When their self-imposed deadline for an agreement on a new ballpark passed Monday with the site and financing still undetermined, so team president David Samson set a new deadline.”

– Herald-Tribune, 03/16/04

Sorry, they meant to say that now the city has until May 1 to reach a deal so that the Marlins could open the 2007 season in the new ballpark. This deadline came and went. Nothing happened.

In fact, the Marlins would stay at their place for several more years and win a World Series in Sun Life Stadium. It wasn’t until 2009 that they were able to screw-over or con or get Miami to give them at least $300 million in taxpayer money for a new ballpark. Opps, I meant to say $500 million in taxpayer money.

You see, for years the Marlins had been publicly crying about their poor finances due to a number of problems, as they saw it. So they asked the city to fund a lot of the new ballpark. When the ballpark was built, wrote an article detailing the finances of the Marlins and how they were turning profit over profit while crying poor.

Los Angeles Lakers

– LA Times
In almost every story that I am including in this article, I am talking about the team owners giving meaningless dates to the county/city/state to come up with taxpayer money. But in this situation, the Lakers owner Jerry Buss, decided that if he were to share a new stadium with the local NHL team, the Kings, then he would need to know by October 15th.

A decision may be reached as soon as next week on the proposed site for a new arena to be shared by the Lakers and Kings, Laker owner Jerry Buss said Monday.

“Buss said a self-imposed deadline of Oct. 15 has been set for their selection between Inglewood and downtown Los Angeles, but noted that a Sept. 15 deadline also came and went without a resolution.”

– Los Angeles Times, 10/08/1996

This latest deadline would also come and go without any answer. Eventually, the Lakers and Kings worked out an agreement.

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