Monday, December 12, 2011

Tampa Mayor Talks Downtown Stadium Again

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says he won't "meddle" with the City of St. Pete's contract with the Rays - a contract that has 15 more years on it - he just can't help talking about how much greater a Rays stadium would be in his city:
"We need to be prepared if (a "divorce" from St. Pete) happens to be able to make the case not only to the voters in this community but also to the business community that this is a regional asset, the Rays, that we need to keep. And if that is the case, which I think it is, what is the best location for it. I happen to think it's in downtown Tampa."
Buckhorn acknowledged a point I've made before - that any new stadium outside of Greater St. Pete would likely require a large cash buyout of the use agreement.

But Buckhorn also indicated St. Pete's biggest concern would be $90 million in outstanding debt on the stadium - debt that will be paid off in a few years. I bet if you asked St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster, he would tell you his city has a lot more than $90 million in equity invested here.

Furthermore, every time Buckhorn touts Tampa as a suitable alternative to St. Pete, he is playing into the hands of the Rays, who want nothing more than to diminish St. Pete's bargaining power. The blueprint for a new stadium involves pitting one metropolis against another; but since that hasn't happened yet, a St. Pete vs. Tampa tug-of-war will suit just fine.

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