Setting the Bar Lower
Representatives of the WNBA have met with Mayor Sheila Dixon to discuss the possibility of moving a franchise to Baltimore once a new downtown arena is built, Dixon said today.
The mayor also said she’d like to see the new facility built on the same downtown site where the 14,000-seat 1st Mariner Arena stands.
Dixon mentioned the possibility of attracting a women’s basketball franchise after being asked if a new arena should be large enough for an NBA team.
“I think we need a larger arena,” she said. “But I don’t think we should rely on attracting the NBA.”
The idea is now for the city of Baltimore to use taxpayer dollars in order to build an arena for a WNBA team? Seriously? That’s how low the bar is now set? The WNBA is barely a blip on national sports radar. If the league wasn’t subsidized by the NBA, the league would have gone under years ago for lack of interest and poor play. But do you really need an arena to hit these numbers?
The NBA founded the women’s league and has traditionally subsidized it to cover operating losses. Average attendance has remained relatively stable in recent seasons, though at 7,742 in 2007, it fell more than 3,000 below the league’s 1998 peak. ESPN recently extended its television deal with the league through 2016.
Should Baltimore be concerned with building a new arena for what is basically a low-level sports outfit that would draw no differently than the Baltimore Blast currently do in the antiquated facility? Absolutely not. But knowing that Mayor Dixon and the City Council often have misplaced priorities. Despite her past record and the fact that she is basically radioactive right now, I expect this to be priority # 1 for Dixon and her cronies.
Baltimore does need a new arena. They do not need to spend a penny of taxpayer dollars on it. If the city thinks that it needs a new arena to keep the Blast and to draw a WNBA team…..well, call Ed Hale or get Dan Rodricks to do a fundraiser, because only somebody devoid of rational thought would think building a small facility for that reason with taxpayer dollars is a good idea.