Monday, June 28, 2010

Are Newspapers Driving Stadium Debate?

Newspapers have long joined their communities in root, root, rooting for the home team. But in Tampa Bay, they’ve also got a reputation for rooting for the home team’s business ventures.

As the Rays’ stadium saga enters another summer, both the Tampa Tribune and the St. Petersburg Times have turned up the heat on the debate.

“I’ve looked at both papers’ coverage,” said Dr. Randy Miller, a journalism professor at USF. “Both sides have had coverage that clearly points out it either is – or isn’t – a good idea to move the stadium across the bay.”

Miller says the papers – to different degrees – influence the stadium debate through tone and frequency of stories.

Continue reading here.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

St. Pete Times Answers Important Questions

Very good article this morning from a trio of St. Pete Times writers. I was happy to provide a bit of input for it, but don't look for a quote from me...most of the good stuff comes from more important sources.

I still think the Rays will eventually get a new stadium in Tampa Bay, but they won't like stories like this one that point out their timetable doesn't match up with the region's.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Newspaper Coverage Improving on Stadium Saga

You know, we've been working on an in-depth analysis of the local newspaper coverage for over a month now (it airs Monday at 11pm), but since I informed the St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Tribune of the story, their coverage has really stepped it up a notch. Maybe coincidence. Maybe not.

A few examples of good journalism:
Trib 6/25/10 - Portland, San Antonio, Vegas, and Charlotte may not be in the mix
Times 6/22/10 - Tampa Bay doesn't work together enough for things like a Rays' stadium
Trib 6/22/10 - Joe Henderson column on "Strongarm Tactics 101"

I'm out of town for a few days, hoping the stadium saga stays quiet for a little bit. Not counting on it, though...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

St. Pete Mayor Replies to Rays

Mayor Bill Foster has returned the Rays' opening volley in their campaign for a new, more centrally-located stadium.

"I do agree the Rays are a 'regional asset,' and will work tirelessly with the political and business leaders of Tampa Bay in support of this club," Foster wrote in a letter to Rays' owner Stu Sternberg. "However, there is no resident of the entire region who has given up more in this quest for baseball than the resident of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County.

"The taxpaying residents of St. Petersburg and Pinellas County have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in support of Major League Baseball and the Rays, and above all else, their interests will always come first."

Read more, including the mayor's entire letter, here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thursday's Another Big Day in Stadium Saga

Mayor Bill Foster says he'll issue a written reply to the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday to continue to the stadium discussion the team began on Monday. The city's lawyer will also brief council at 8 a.m. on their legal options and associated case law.

Read more here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Food for Thought on Sternberg's Statement

So let me get this right:

A NY millionaire flies down and says, "I know you're paying tens of millions of dollars a year for the right to host my (for-profit) business, and I know you still have many more millions to pay...and even though I agreed to stay for 17 more years....I decided it's only going to be 5-10...and I expect you to start paying a lot more money after that."

And somehow we think the bad guy is the Mayor of St Pete, looking out for his taxpayers' investment?

You now see how professional teams have mastered media manipulation.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Live From the Rays' Press Conference

A lot has already been said today about Stu Sternberg's aggressive statement today about leaving Downtown St. Pete:
- 10 Connects: Sternberg says Downtown won't do
- TBO: Rays want to look outside St. Pete
- Times: Rays' owner says team must look beyond St. Pete
- TBBJ: Rays ready to open discussions beyond St. Pete

So, I'll keep my comments brief and focused on what it means.

The Rays want a new stadium because new stadium means instant revenue. Maybe $200M in value. So they probably don't care as much about the location as their fans do.

By telling St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster his intentions, then immediately broadcasting them to the media, Stu Sternberg is delivering the clear message that he wants the media and fans to do his negotiating for him. He's not interested in working out a deal with the city that holds his lease...he wants fans to put pressure on their public officials to spend on a stadium.

Sternberg didn't offer any suggestions of how a stadium would get built in this economy, he merely said the region needs to come together to get it done. I imagine the team will eventually contribute to a new stadium, but for negotiating sake, that offer isn't on the table yet.

For anyone who thinks today's announcement is a big deal, it's not. As I said 12 months ago, this will be a very long and painful process that will include many sharp-tongued statements from the team.

Also, for what it's worth, I predicted Stu's "location, location, location" speech 13 months ago.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bold Prediction Time

By tying up both dollars and priorities of local municipalities, I bet the Gulf oil spill pushes the timetable for a new Rays stadium back by several years.

Rays to Finally Talk to City?

UPDATE 4:50PM - Stu Sternberg will make "an important announcement regarding the future of the Rays' franchise" at 12:15 p.m. on Monday, shortly after meeting with the Mayor of St. Petersburg. Updates tomorrow.

9:50AM - After saying they wouldn't talk stadium until the ABC Coalition finished its work, then saying they wouldn't talk stadium while they were concentrating on the start of the season, then saying they wouldn't talk stadium while they were concentrating on maintaining baseball's best appears the Rays are finally ready to talk stadium.

As the Times' Stephen Nohlgren reports, team owner Stu Sternberg will meet with St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster this week.
Rick Mussett, senior administrator for city development, said (Rays' Sr. VP Michael) Kalt called him early last week, asking for time on Foster's calendar. Mussett offered Monday or Tuesday.

"Kalt said it would be mostly a social visit,'' Mussett said. "We don't know what they are going to say. It could be almost anything, though the 'mostly' is the key qualifier.''
4/28/10 - When will Rays Talk Stadium?
4/14/10 - Rays Not Prepared to Answer Tough Questions
4/5/10 - New Season Brings Old Refrains From and for Rays
3/16/10 - St. Pete Mayor Waiting on Rays

Read the final ABC Coalition report here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

If You Thought the "1-800-ASK-Gary Amp" was a Bad Name..

A few quickies for the weekend:

- If you thought the new "1-800-ASK-Gary Amp" was as bad as it got for venue naming rights, an adulterer website wants to prove you wrong in New York.

- Think private financing is easy to come by for a stadium? The San Francisco Bay area, the last market to build a private baseball stadium, may not be able to come up with the private money to get the 49ers a new home. Even after Santa Clara County ponied up $444M.

- You can probably cross Las Vegas off the list of cities the Rays could potentially pit Tampa Bay against....

- I've been talking to the St. Pete Chamber of Commerce a bunch about what they can do to keep the Rays in the area. And, while they don't really have much power, Stephen Nohlgren from The Times writes how they hope to lead the charge in keeping the team within St. Pete city limits.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Value of Bucs Dropping

In the wake of more Glazer financial turmoil, Forbes is reporting that the value of the Buccaneers has sunk below $1 billion again.
The season ticket waiting has essentially evaporated. Buc fans are angry at the lack of money being spent on players. Some blame Glazer's highly leveraged purchase of Manchester United. It does not matter if that is true. What matters is that is what fans think is true. The Glazer family needs to plug this hole before it takes the Bucs down.
Maybe inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but interesting.

Monday, June 7, 2010

More Denials from Glazers on Financial Woes

As scrutiny mounts of the family's finances, the Glazers are sending out increasingly terse statements refuting published reports.

Following a BBC investigation that indicated the owners of the Bucs and Manchester United were in $1.6 million of debt, much more than previously thought, the Glazers issued a statement through Buccaneers Director of Communications Jonathan Grella.

For more, continue reading here.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Replay May Not Have Overturned Joyce's Imperfect Call on Galarraga

Chew on this. Even if MLB had instant replay, the controversial call in this week's Tigers-Indians game may not have been overturned.

Umpire Jim Joyce made a number of refreshing teary-eyed apologies after what appeared to be a very bad call, costing Detroit's Armando Galarraga the first perfect game in franchise history. Joyce thought Jason Donald beat Miguel Cabrera's throw to first. He didn't.

But I'm not so sure if umps had the ability to go to a replay booth if they would have overturned the call. Why? Galarraga appears to have bobbled the ball as he tagged first base.

Judge for yourself here (go to the 1:10 mark):
(Sorry, link removed!)
Now, I'm not saying Donald was definitely safe. But he wasn't definitely out. And if umps went to replay to see who got to the base first, they may have discovered a bobble they hadn't noticed before.