BY DAVE ALLEN Like time, news waits for no man. Keeping up with the funny papers has always been an all-day job, even in the pre-Internets era. These days, however, it’s a two-man job. That’s right, these days you need someone to do your reading for you, or risk falling hopelessly behind and, as a result, increasing your chances of dying lonely and somewhat bitter. That’s why every week, PAPERBOY does your alt-weekly reading for you. We pore over those time-consuming cover stories and give you the takeaway, suss out the cover art, warn you off the ink-wasters and steer you towards the gooey center. Why? Because we love you!
ON THE COVER
CP: CP shines a light on money troubles and entanglements over building the new MLS stadium on the Chester waterfront. In a way, it’s the same old story — new sports stadiums seldom follow through on what they promise — but this examination of the soccer stadium in Chester has teeth. There’s been dickery with environmental regulations and lip service paid to constructing a mixed-use development that would give Chester the only grocery store within its city limits. This development, it seems, may never happen.
Though the vast majority of the benefits the Chester development is supposed to bring are associated with the mixed-use parcel, virtually all the public money allocated to the project is going straight to the construction of the stadium.
The state agencies awarding the millions appear, in some cases, to have failed or declined to ask basic questions about the economic benefits being promised. Contamination on the site where the mixed-use development is to be built raises questions about whether delivering the promised amenities is even economically feasible.
And the very developers expected to build the mixed-use site — the principals of the Wilmington-based Buccini/Pollin Group (BPG) — are part-owners of the soccer team, providing a potential disincentive for them to allocate any of the public money toward anything but the stadium, from which they hope to profit… has the public — the city of Chester, in particular — been duped?
Thompson analyzes where the money’s coming from and what it’s going to, and then nails it: “Almost all of the $87 million in state, county and city funding going into the ‘Chester Waterfront Redevelopment Project’ is earmarked specifically for work on the stadium.” So that mixed-use venture, with grocery store, housing and other amenities that will provide jobs to Chester residents and a boost for the local economy? Not the priority many thought it would be.
PW: BMac takes on the looming Ticketmaster and Live Nation merger. It’s complex, with major players throwing around large sums of money and independent promoters, repped by R5 honcho Sean Agnew, getting hosed. Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation, has spun shit into gold, bundling his flawed business model into a consumer-screwing monopoly.
Both Live Nation and Ticketmaster have board members who are, as Pollstar put it, “very powerful FOBs—Friends of Obama.” This can only help the merger’s case later this year, when the Department of Justice determines whether the merger constitutes a monopoly.
Live Nation’s board members include director Ari Emanuel, brother of President Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel. Ticketmaster’s board boasts former director Julius Genachowski, a Harvard classmate of the president and a co-leader of his transition team’s Policy Work Group on Technology, Innovation and Government.
Even if these FOBs weren’t on the boards of the megawatt concert behemoths, the chance of the merger not happening is slim. As one Washington, D.C., industry watchdog told Jim DeRogatis, music critic for the Chicago Sun Times, “For a precedent for the Obama administration vetoing this merger, you’d really have to go back to the Roosevelt years—and I’m talking Teddy, not F.D.R. Sad to say, the era of federal trust-busting is now ancient history.”
Oh, well then, never mind. Rapino isn’t fucked at all.
Anti-monopoly industry heavyweights, like Seth Hurwitz, formerly of Washington, DC’s 9:30 Club, and AEG Live’s Jon Hampton, have their say, but the merger – and the subsequent jacking-up of tickets and service fees – seems like a done deal.BMac puts it succinctly: “Carp though they may, fans continue to buy.”
INSIDE THE BOOK
CP: Harry Potter, getting hotter. Sometimes lightning doesn’t have to strike twice. Wine merchant Francis Ford Coppola still makes movies, y’know. Waving the flag for an American cookery.
PW: Does eating Venezuelan constitute an endorsement of Hugo Chavez? Just asking. First-hand reporting on second-hand goods. I, too, prefer vikings to pirates. What can country preachers and West Philly anarchists agree on?
WINNER: CP takes it, for the excellent reporting on the Chester soccer stadium. It’s clear they pored over all kinds of docs from Department from Environmental Protection, state legislation and grant applications for this story. Some daily papers can’t even muster that type of research.