I can explain it to you in 90 seconds. View the short video below:
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Providing perspective on the economics and politics of sports business in Florida...and the Rays' campaign for a new stadium in Tampa Bay.
Here are the full #StPete plans for a redeveloped Tropicana Field, with new #Rays stadium: https://t.co/HxRO1jI5AG https://t.co/B1fXrth0ow— Shadow of Stadium (@StadiumShadow) April 5, 2017
Most importantly to #Rays, the #StPete plan has massive commercial development on site, which could transfer enormous $ from city to team. https://t.co/N64WzDX6pC— Shadow of Stadium (@StadiumShadow) April 5, 2017
Biggest ques for #Rays: is massive commercial development opportunity worth another tough-to-get-to stadium in #StPete? Answer: likely. https://t.co/8QjyrP3Ykp— Shadow of Stadium (@StadiumShadow) April 5, 2017
Revenue is more important than attendance. And they are not necessarily dependent on each other. https://t.co/Z6uY6Am34x— Shadow of Stadium (@StadiumShadow) April 5, 2017
#StPete #Rays pitch: stay & we'll give you $110M in bed taxes, plus general revenue $$ and tons of prime land to develop retail too. https://t.co/K2iLW7RCi6— Shadow of Stadium (@StadiumShadow) April 5, 2017
Disagree. Pro teams prefer to be in real estate/development business than in ticket sales business. New stadium increases #Rays' revenue. https://t.co/AQu2JOOQvX— Shadow of Stadium (@StadiumShadow) April 5, 2017
For further reading, the Tampa Bay Times write-up is here. Or, additional Shadow of the Stadium references:Unlikely that MLS would expand to #StPete if #Rays stay. They know market cannot sustain both. https://t.co/dmx17Rtgj6— Shadow of Stadium (@StadiumShadow) April 5, 2017
The Tampa Bay Rays open their 20th season Sunday in sold-out Tropicana Field with new turf, new concessions (a $13 grilled cheese burger!?), new players — and a familiar discussion about prospects for a new stadium. By Opening Day in 2018, there should be a site selected for the next Rays ballpark and a general agreement on how to pay for it. The continuing uncertainty is unhealthy for the Rays and for a region that is enjoying a growth spurt but cannot afford to lose major-league baseball.Of course, it isn't finding a site that's the biggest challenge; it's the financing and lack of appetite for public subsidies.
The sellout crowd at the Tampa Bay Rays' 14th season opener tonight at Tropicana Field will find new food choices, a new playing surface and plenty of new players. What the franchise needs to ensure its long-term future in the region is a serious conversation about a new stadium.
|Source: Forbes, Florida Trend|
Thirty-thousand? That would bump the Rays up to 15th out of 30 teams and would mean an extra 870,000 fans a year. But 30,000/game seems unsustainable given the fact that the Marlins only drew 27,400 in their first season and playoff teams like Cincinnati and Baltimore only drew 28,978 and 26,610, respectively, this year despite their modern stadiums.Romano's 2017 take on the same issue questions how much revenue the team would need to make a real investment in a new ballpark:
Twenty-five thousand? That would bump the Rays up to 24th in the league in attendance and mean 465,000 more fans a year. But there's a big question if the Marlins could draw that many next year or if the Rays - by moving from a county with 900,000 residents to a county with 1.1 million residents could either.
Twenty-three thousand? Is it worth $500-600 million for 303,000 fans a year? If the ticket average is $25, that's $7.5 million a year for the Rays. Add parking and concessions and maybe it's $15 million a year for the Rays. Might just be cheaper for Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties to hand the team an annual tax credit.
For the Rays, this has always been a mathematics question. If they can boost their revenues $15 million a year in a downtown Tampa location, then they would invest a certain amount in construction. If a new stadium on the Trop site only boosts their revenues $5 million a year, then one might assume their investment would not be as high.Of course, readers of this blog knew Pinellas always had viable locations, since its got the most available tax money. And, if we are to learn anything from Atlanta, it's that MLB teams don't care quite as much about ballpark location if they can make a bundle of profit on real estate and ancillary development.
The difference at the Trop site is there is an abundance of property that does not have to be purchased, and the Rays currently hold the development rights through their stadium use agreement.
Those rights could go a long way toward deferring the team's costs, and they would allow the Rays to be partners in whatever development goes up around the stadium.
This doesn't mean a site in downtown Tampa won't suddenly become available at a better asking price, but the odds seem a lot less likely than a week ago.
What's now clear is that St. Pete is still a viable location, and that Hillsborough voices are less optimistic than in the past. All of which makes the Trop site seem a lot more attractive today.
If you're a realist, you understand that this was never going to be a pretty process. It involves too much money, too many government layers and far too many variables when it comes to finding suitable land in a market that is close to being built-out.But what I disagree with Romano on, is his assertion that Sternberg's comments were "significant." They simply are not significant, and they are simply not news.
It’s not a sure strategy, but it’s certainly worked in the past, and it sure appears to be the endgame he’s preparing for — with the aid of the Tampa Bay Times, which assigned five people to work on this story and didn’t bother to quote a single person who wasn’t either a Rays official or a local politician in favor of building a new stadium. Oh, journalism.Regardless of what Sternberg intended by his comments, the fact remains that this is just more of the status quo in the Stadium Saga. No news to see here.
This could simply mean that the Rays are not willing and/or able to make a sizable contribution to the building of a stadium. It might mean Tampa and Hillsborough County officials recognize it will be difficult to persuade taxpayers to pony up as much money as the Rays expected.Buckhorn's pullback from the Stadium Saga was first noted here way back in 2013, when it was clear to me a controversial stadium standoff (coupled with the lack of funding) wasn't worth risking his political future.
It might mean Hagan, as the point man for the Hillsborough effort, is already anticipating a Rays return to St. Petersburg, and he's beginning to assign blame ahead of time. It has not gone unnoticed that Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has never made the Rays a top priority, which could be construed as a shrewd politician recognizing this deal was going to be difficult to pull off.
But one thing is for sure: Tampa and St. Pete are fully engaged in the tug-of-war the team has been seeking for nearly seven years. St. Pete is already suggesting general revenue dollars could go to the Rays, on top of the increasingly-valuable development rights they're dangling in front of the team."I would not have made the deal allowing them to look around the region if I didn't have complete confidence in St. Petersburg" https://t.co/fvRWEQSw08— Rick Kriseman (@Kriseman) March 24, 2017