Sunday, October 28, 2012

Rays Amendment Rejection Redux

Mayor Bill Foster's Friday rejection of the Rays' amendment proposal got a bit of play over the weekend, even though the editorial pages were surprisingly quiet (don't worry, there's always the upcoming week).

Sports talk hosts couldn't stop talking about the decision, which provided me a nice opportunity to chat about the topic with WDAE's J.P. Peterson during his Saturday show.  But in a point I've made before, I asked J.P. how many fans would make a $600 million stadium worth it?

Our conversation ultimately went in a different direction, but J.P. and I agreed the Rays' biggest problem was the lack of convenient transportation options for fans in Tampa Bay.  It doesn't have to do with driving across a bridge, but Downtown Tampa - even with a stadium - will never look like Denver's LoDo or Seattle's SoDo or Boston's Fenway neighborhoods because it doesn't have light rail. 

The Tampa Tribune alludes to the issue in comparing Baltimore's stadium district to Downtown Tampa.

Elsewhere in the papers this weekend, no news on the Bud Selig front; Marc Topkin reports the commissioner wasn't happy with Foster's stance on the Rays' contract but isn't doing anything about it right now.

But the most interesting thing to ponder from this weekend - was whether Foster's transparent case for public support accomplished anything.

He wrote to Stuart Sternberg, "when you became the principal owner of the Rays in 2005, you did so with your eyes wide open, fully aware of this history, and with full knowledge of the commitments made by your predecessors just ten years earlier."

"The potential for attendance challenges was foreseeable in 1995, and discussed at length during negotiations," Foster continued.  "And thus, the City bargained away some of its interests in exchange for a thirty year agreement that could not be terminated on the basis of attendance."

Those words weren't directed to the Rays' owner, but indirectly, all of Foster's critics who think he's going to chase the team out of town.


  1. "how many fans would make a $600 million stadium worth it?", it's not so much about how many more people pass through the gates, BUT the vast amount of money to be easily made through luxury boxes, and "corporate" season ticket holders then what the Trop can produce...
    Why? Because it's NOT what the Rays can do with the Trop, but what a new stadium can do for the Rays!

  2. There's not enough "vast" corporate $$$'s around for what the Rays say they need in income to compete.

  3. One thing Baltimore doesn't have that Tampa does is consistent 85 degree or hotter weather throughout the summer, makes luring folks with rapidly evaporating discretionary $$$'s difficult.

    The Inner Harbor development was well underway long before Oriole Park, mallparks don't spur commercial development - it's the other way around.