Thursday, November 15, 2007

Save Rosenblatt's Alternative: Too Little Accomplished for Too Much Money

As I called it two months ago, the Save Rosenblatt committee has completed their study of Rosenblatt Stadium, and sure enough, come back with an alternative that costs a lot of money yet still doesn't meet the demands of the NCAA. They point out their proposal only will cost $60-$65 million, as compared to the $95-$115 million new downtown ballpark proposal. Which is true. They also address some of the NCAA's demands:
  • Wider Concourses
  • Additional Parking
  • A Clean Zone surrounding the ballpark
  • Expanding Rosenblatt's locker rooms
  • Expanded media facilities
  • 2,000 additional seats
But they fail to address several of the NCAA's other demands, which led the NCAA to request a new downtown stadium:
  • Open concourses with a view of the field
  • Additional skyboxes for NCAA corporate sponsors
  • Nearby hotels and restaurants
Most eye-opening is the statement of Save Rosenblatt committee member and city councilman Garry Gernandt:
"The purpose of (the Save Rosenblatt plan) is to keep the CWS here for five years. We've been getting five-year extensions for years, and that has always worked for us."
Let's do some simple math with the figures most advantageous to the Save Rosenblatt committee:
Remodel Rosenblatt: $60 million / 5 years = $12 million a year
New Downtown Ballpark: $115 million / 20 years = $5.75 million a year
Now I'm not an accounting whiz by any means (though I did work on accounting systems about a dozen years ago), but it's not difficult to see that building a new downtown ballpark is the most financially prudent decision.

The NCAA wants a new ballpark. We might be able to band-aid Rosenblatt and get another five years out of it, but then five years down the line, the NCAA will be back to request a new stadium. Give the NCAA what they want now, and we're not discussing this issue again until 2031.

Fail to do so, and we might get five more years before we're spending that $115 million on top of the $60 million we just spent (except now that inflation has made that $150 million). Or worse, the College World Series goes on a rotation between Indianpolis, Orlando, and Omaha.


Brad S said...

Mike, this former Nebraska resident would just, for once, like to see some pushback. Namely, in this form: "Ok, Myles Brand, you are aware that Omaha has quite a few corporate HQs, right? So kindly identify for us the "corporate hospitality" people who've been complaining about how "outdated" Rosenblatt is. If you're not able to do so, we don't spend a penny on any stadium effort. And why should we? The place sells out for 10 days in late June, and ESPN is more than happy to show lots of happy faces in the crowd. Results speak for themselves, NCAA."

And lest you say something about the NCAA leaving KC back in the late '90s and how that should be avoided, keep in mind that the KC Star did a nice little send-off to that hypocritical organization in the form of an expose into their practices in MO and KS. And last I checked, that old NCAA HQ in Overland Park is now Sprint's and EMBARQ's corporate campus.

Husker Mike said...

I'm afraid I don't have access to that story from the KC Star. I'm not sure you'll get a whole lot of disagreement about the NCAA being hypocritical and rather arrogant. They are, mostly because they can be.

The point about Sprint buying the old NCAA HQ is somewhat moot. If KC had their wishes, they'd have BOTH the NCAA and the Sprint HQ. Would something else move into Omaha to replace the CWS, as you suggest might happen? Perhaps. Could it be better than the CWS? Maybe. Is that scenario likely? I think PowerBall has better odds.