Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Stadium Irony Can Be So Ironic

If you wonder why the Tampa Bay region is so hesitant to build a taxpayer-funded stadium for the Rays, you only need to read this article from the Cincinnati Enquirer or this summary from Field of Schemes.

The Cincinnati region faces a huge shortfall on the bonds for its two riverfront stadiums:
The deficit in the fund that pays for Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ball Park could be as much as $14 million next year, grows to $46 million in 2013 and eventually could cumulatively reach $480 million if nothing is done.
That leaves Hamilton County (Ohio) with few options, like the bleak situation Orlando faced when building Amway Arena.

Field of Schemes author Neil deMause writes that Orlando "scrapped a planned performing arts center and cut back on police, fire, and road services to fill funding shortfalls on the Magic's new arena."

He's also interviewed in the Enquirer article:
Hamilton County commissioners, through negotiations, public pressure or lawsuits, keep trying to force the Bengals and Reds to cut new deals. But that rarely works, deMause said.

"The teams say, 'You made a deal and if you got the short end of the stick, that's not our problem,'" he said.
The irony, of course, is the opposite seems to be true when franchises make bad deals.

Rays principal owner Stu Sternberg has admitted he overestimated the willingness of fans to drive to St. Petersburg when he bought the team in 2006. But despite 16 years left on a 30-year deal at The Trop, he's made it clear he expects a new ballpark built if Tampa Bay expects to keep the Rays in town.

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