Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Glazers Still Have SOME Money...

The Glazer family must not be in too much financial trouble if they can drop $20.5M in cash for a new home...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

St. Pete Mayor Says Stadium Talk Hinges on Rays

CLEARWATER, Florida - The ABC Coalition made its first public presentation since concluding its year-long report on how to keep baseball in Tampa Bay long-term, but don't expect the Rays stadium saga to end anytime soon.

The Coalition presented its findings to the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) in Pinellas Co. on Tuesday, but the board's comments were limited on the advice of the county attorney.

The City of St. Petersburg, the county's partner in hosting the Rays, sent a letter to a number of parties reminding them that legal action was a possibility if they interferred with the current use agreement, which runs through 2027.

County Commissioner Ken Welch told me the current budget problems will prohibit any entity - not just Pinellas Co. and St. Pete - from building a stadium anytime soon. But he's still confident the team will stay in Pinellas Co., maybe at the Toytown landfill in North St. Pete, an attractive plot of land if environmental concerns can be addressed.

St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster said - contrary to popular opinion - he wasn't ignoring the issue and had reached out the Rays.

For more, including the Rays' response, continue here. And for more background on the Rays' stadium saga, click here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bucs Finally Spending Money...on PR

According to Sports Business Daily, the Buccaneers have turned to former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer for some PR help. He's assisting the team in its search for a new Director of Communications.
The Glazers, who own the Bucs, also own Manchester United, which is frequently embroiled in controversies, the most recent of which involves a group of investors seeking to buy the team without their consent. Meanwhile, the Bucs have been hit with charges they spend too little on players and are really saving money to pay off the ManU debt the Glazers incurred in buying the team. "I am helping spread the word for the Bucs about their opening and am holding preliminary talks with some candidates," Fleischer said in an e-mail. "The rest of the interview process and the decision about who to hire are determined by the Bucs."

The Glazers certainly need some help in the public relations department, and if there is anyone experienced in bad publicity, it's Fleischer, the guy who had to deal with all of George W. Bush's...and is currently assisting Tiger Woods as well.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Seminoles Say No to Stadium Scenario

Just as quickly as I speculated the Seminole Indians may be the only group that could bring the Rays to Tampa, the tribe told me today there was no chance.

"Lack of land there would make it impossible," said tribe spokesman Gary Bitner. "The site is 37 acres. And they use every square inch for the gaming complex and parking, including two parking garages. I’ve never heard anyone even mention the word 'stadium.' "

With regards to possible land acquisition, Bitner said it was "not possible. They would have to jump Hillsborough Avenue, as homes are opposite Orient Road."

I never thought a Hard Rock stadium was likely, but barring a complicated land-swap with the Florida State Fairgrounds, it seems safe to cross one more stadium scenario off the list.

St. Pete, the ball remains in your court.

No Rays Move to Hillsborough...Unless...

I've racked my brains for months on this and because of the well-documented lack of public money in - and around - Tampa, I just don't see the Rays ever getting a new stadium in Hillsborough County. Can't happen without public money.

UNLESS, one somewhat far-fetched scenario plays out.

The only way I could see the Rays moving across Tampa Bay is if the Seminole Indian tribe builds them a new stadium out at the Hard Rock Casino. This may not be the tribe's first experience with stadium-building, but if they decided that a $500 million investment would result in more visitors and revenues at the casino, I suspect they could try to make a deal.

That doesn't mean it's a likely scenario. St. Pete would sue to keep the team. The Rays would have to alienate a portion of their fans. Things would get ugly. Major League Baseball would have to sign off on the deal. The state would get involved too and have to essentially choose its relationship with the Seminoles over its relationship with St. Pete.

But, I guess anything's possible.