Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Times Loves Regional Efforts; Hates Bill Foster

On the eve of the Rays' meeting with the Hillsborough County Commission, the Tampa Bay Times has penned another editorial pleading for a regional approach to keep the team. 

Echoing what I said last week, today's editorial points out upcoming talks are lacking regional collaboration; but the Times was hopeful the two commission boards would overcome "Mayor Bill Foster's foolish threats of lawsuits."

The Times never misses an opportunity to bash Foster, but they've been calling on Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg for years to "make a reasonable offer to St. Petersburg" if he wants to explore new stadium sides.  Yet Foster gets 100% of the blame for lack of progress while Sternberg continues to get a free pass.

I'm also not sure how valid the Times' premise is that "The Rays need a new stadium soon if they are to remain in the Tampa Bay market."

But I couldn't agree more that if the Tampa Bay region wants to help the Rays build a new stadium, the only way to do it is coming together as the Tampa Bay region.  I said back in 2011 that the easiest pill to swallow from a financing standpoint would be a multi-county tax effort.


  1. Say what you will about the Marlins 2012 season; having a new ballpark in a prime location brought their average game attendance up 8,393 (x88 games = 738,584). Nearly 3/4 of a million more people took in a Marlins game in 2012 over 2011 - DESPITE the Guillen interview and sub-par performance. With the Marlins average ticket price at $29.62, that's approx $21,876,858 in new ticket revenue, added to the 55% increase to the average ticket price (approx $39,539,684 additional), comes to $61,416,542 (that's not counting additional concession and memorabilia sales to those 738,584 additional fans). Over $60 MILLION in additional ticket revenue alone for a team that lost 3 more games than the previous year, hasn't made the playoffs since 2003, and had more than its fair share of PR issues is crazy talk (and is almost 1/2 of Josh Hamilton's new 5 year deal made up in a single season, solely of additional ticket sales). This increase has to be mainly due to the new park in a new location, just imagine what the Rays could make happen!

    1. 81 home games (not 88)
      679,833 additional tickets sold
      $20,136,653 - new ticket revenue
      $29,344,147 - 55% ticket price increase
      $49,480,800 - Additional Income Total

      Far cry from $61 MIL, but still more than their entire 2013 projected payroll

  2. How are the Marlins spending that money this year?

    1. I'm sure the Marlins have plans (they say they do), but they are fiscally baffling. Just today MLBPA threatening action against them if they don't increase payroll (projected at $32.5 MIL). Cutting 72% ($85.5 MIL) of your payroll in one off season is insane, but that kind of move is already in the Marlins DNA. From 2005-2006 they cut over 75% of their salary ($60.4 MIL - $15 MIL)(also from 1998-1999 they cut 55% a year after cutting 30% - 68% in 2 years). In contrast, the largest salary increase in club history was the 2011-2012 jump of 52% (2006-2007: 51%).

      They say they have plans, and Bud Selig has signed off on their payroll, now it's the MLBPA's turn.

  3. Well, like Toad Kalas said, everyone wants to group us in with what the Marlins are doing because we're both in the same states, BUT we might as 3 states apart. Our organizations are totally different. And, I don't understand them build a ballpark in a place where the Dolphins spent years trying to to get out of...

  4. And, let's bash anyone bashing Bill, because he should be fighting to keep the Rays in St. Pete, he should be fighting for almost anything that makes money for St. Pete, that's why the people of St. Pete elected him for, and will elect him again for his fighting efforts. Though, if I was him, I would be back dooring a exiting deal that made St. Pete more money then simply having them up and leave like the Baltimore Colts did...

  5. Rayz ain't "makes money for St. Pete", the only money makers with or without a new mallpark are franchise owners. They are the ones pushing this because they now realize that they bought a pig-in-a-poke and want taxpayers (either visitors or locals) to bail them out.
    None of the Florida markets can be considered in the strong MLB category - not enough corporate $$$'s, too many locals on fixed or minimum incomes and a lot of long standing outdoor pursuits to do and spend on.
    Irony is that there's nowhere else for relocation, none of the usual suspects would be any stronger markets than Tampa/Pt.Pete and possibly worse.
    The can't "up and leave like the Baltimore Colts did ", there's no where they can go that would be ready overnight as Indy was.
    So they're stuck and want to change the rules.
    Don't fall prey to the "OMG! IF WE DON'T GIVE IN TO WHAT THEY WANT THEY'LL LEAVE!!" mentality, that's just what the Rayz want.

    1. The Devil Rays could not do better in another market, that's why there was far less talk of a new stadium then (if any). But now, the Rays deserve a bigger home crowd (they should sign Chris Perez to get the word out). 3 playoff appearances in 5 years, and the last 2 year's fights to the final day should equate to much higher than the embarrassing dead last and 2nd to last the last 2 years respectively.
      I do not think they WANT to leave the Tampa/St. Pete area; that's why they continue to talk. Even if the sole reason to want a move is to get more money, well, it's a business. There are better markets (Orlando - the tourism alone, New Orleans, San Antonio, Jacksonville), but I haven't heard the Rays talk about moving, they just want a new stadium and to have it in a high-traffic area.
      30 MLB teams, the Rays are the youngest (with Arizona). 30 MLB parks, The Trop is the 8th oldest. Included in the 7 older: true cathedrals of the game - Wrigley, Fenway, and Dodger; newly remodeled Kauffman and beautiful Angels. The last of the 7 older? Oakland - and they are fighting to leave Oakland all together and move 40 miles south. Quite a bit further than the 1.3 miles the Rays are looking at. Who knows that the future will hold, but eventually, and definitely before 2027 when the Trop contract expires, the Rays will have a new home... somewhere.

      Year - MLB Avg Attendance/Game Rankings - Divisional Finish - Playoffs

      Year - Avg A- Div F
      2012 - 30th - 3rd
      2011 - 29th - 2nd - L ALDS
      2010 - 22nd - 1st - L ALDS
      2009 - 23rd - 3rd
      2008 - 26th - 1st - L WS
      Devil Rays
      2007 - 29th - 5th
      2006 - 29th - 5th
      2005 - 30th - 5th
      2004 - 29th - 5th
      2003 - 29th - 5th
      2002 - 28th - 5th
      2001 - 28th - 5th
      2000 - 27th - 5th
      1999 - 24th - 5th
      1998 - 14th - 5th

    2. lol, do you really think Tropicana Field doesn't make St. Pete money(?), com'on man, don't be dumb! I know you like to play the everything-sucks, nothing-is-good, FoxNews-worshiping digressive, but realize that sports uses cities , and cities uses sports. If your not for the Rays building a new ballpark, I would suggest to move to Brooksville or Dade City, and not enjoy the benefits from Tampa's revenue from Channelside in 10-20-50 years from now...

    3. Who cares about any of these stats and numbers you're tossing out...

      None of that addresses the larger issue of a wealthy private owner & small fan base forcefully squeezing money out of the rest of the city and state.

      There's little to no proof that ballparks do anything to help the economy and overwhelming loads of proof that they are a fiscal drain that damage other, non-subsidized businesses. And you can extrapolate all the future, idealistic scenarios out of thin air you want: the fact is that the season can be shut down (NHL) or just plain suck , no matter how much public money is being churned into it (Marlins, Bucs, etc).

      Maybe if all the owners and you superfans had to personally fund this children's game, you'd be a little slower to shovel money into Sternberg's pockets.

    4. Every business makes money off of the surrounding community, that's capitalism and a free economy. But they Rays are far from forcefully squeezing money out of anything. Their "Fan Cost Index" is 4th lowest in the majors; that's only $7.36 more than the lowest, $54.38 below MLB average, and $183.69 below the highest.

      I wont go into details about what makes up the FCI - go to

      And these stats i'm tossing out are facts, trends, and proof that the Rays are trying. They are putting a superior product on the field (1 of only 3 teams with 5 consecutive winning seasons, 1 of only 3 teams with 3 straight 90+ win seasons) and the current fan support is an area of concern; both financially and for the overall fan experience. A new stadium with more fans makes for a better game experience, and that's the primary focus I am hearing from their clubhouse.

      I'm not saying the Rays organization is made up of saints and they can do no wrong, but looking at their current situation it's hard not to see that they have, at the very least, a valid concern worth discussion.

  6. "shovel money into Sternberg's pockets."? Stu won't pocket any tax money, the taxes would go to the stadium, part of the stadium's revenue goes to Tampa/Hillsborough which goes to the same things that taxes are used for, but would have more to do it from it's investment. It's not about now, it's about the future...
    The problem is your looking at this as Rays taking money off the top of your pay check to pay for a stadium that won't make money...

  7. New Orleans, San Antonio, Jacksonville - none of these places are suitable for MLB or Selig would have been using them as a wedge to get what the Rayz want (same as the NFL uses the open L.A. market to get what they want in Minn., Atl., etc.) or talking them up foe expansion - and that's not going to happen either.

  8. WOW, I would bet you don't even know what the Rays owner previous job was, or how many games did the Rays miss the playoffs by last year, or what's the company that runs the concession stands at the Trop, or where the best Rays player ever is playing now, etc.. FoxNews has a article about woman in combat that you might find more down your ally...
    Let me quote Hillsborough county commish Ken Hagan, "to insure that this $200 million dollar a year economic engine remains here...", I think Jax & San Ann would love to have a business of such in there downtown...