The Field of Schemes blog (I suppose that there had to be a blog for people who think that public-private stadium deals are bad news) offers its two cents on Mayor Coleman's hiring of John Rosenberger to bring the Arena District bailout home:
Leaving aside whether an NHL franchise really falls into the category of "too big to fail," the prospect of a Blue Jackets bailout raises some other familiar concerns. For one thing, is there a risk of moral hazard if sports teams can go into arena projects with unworkable finances, figuring, "Hey, if we're losing money once the place is built, we can always get the government to renegotiate our lease later"?
A bigger question now, though, might be: What, if anything, will Columbus get in exchange for any money it pours into the Blue Jackets' coffers? If the team doesn't have money to spare, the next most likely thing is equity — if the U.S. can become part-owner of AIG and General Motors, there's no reason Columbus can't demand a share of the Blue Jackets in exchange for any bailout money. And unlike the federal government, they already have plenty of experience in such things...And whaddya know, the Franklin County Government OWNS the Columbus Clippers! I had no idea. This little gem missed me as I haven't been a Columbus-ite all of my life. It also changes the negotiating dynamic considerably in my mind. With Huntington Park (and the Clippers) so inextricably linked to the Arena District and, by extension, Nationwide Arena's success, Franklin County Government is pretty well trapped on this one. To protect their Clippers investment, the Commissioners will likely have to play ball with the Jackets. Otherwise, two teams (and stadiums) could be hurting. What an interesting, slippery slope the Commissioners put themselves on by moving the team downtown...
On the bright side: The Jackets have the good sense not to ask for Federal stimulus money!