Monday, January 21, 2013

Zimbalist's Take on Stadium Saga

The Tampa Bay Times published a Stadium Saga update this morning with renowned economist Andrew Zimbalist, and while little new ground on the analytics front was broken, it is good to get independent observations on what's happening.

Many of Zimbalist's takes echo what this blog has posted over the years:
The professor at Smith College also suggested St. Petersburg should discuss contract buy-out options now since its leverage may be diminished in a few years when Tropicana Field bonds are paid off (it's been the rally cry of the Tampa Bay Times' editorial board & columnists too).

Zimbalist said a new Rays stadium must be built in Downtown Tampa because of how important it is for "stadiums (to) be located as close to a business district as possible."  However, I don't know how familiar Zimbalist is with the Tampa Bay region since the Westshore area is a much denser business area than Downtown Tampa. 

He also mentions the dreaded "C" word - contraction - as a possible MLB bargaining chip, but I, for one, do not believe those threats would ever be very "C"redible.

UPDATE: I've since learned Zimbalist is currently paid as a consultant to MLB, an important disclosure omitted from the Times article.


  1. He also said "The market is in the bottom third in Major League Baseball", which isn't true, the Rays are in 2 of America's top 20 media markets, and 3 in the top 50 (including Jacksonville). Though I'm trying to figure out your shot at Zimbalist's comments because "SOTS been echoing his opinions in your blog for years", then what's with the "new stadiums suck" rederick? If staying at the Trop is obviously not the solution, then what is(?), "Westshore", how do you think it should be financed?
    Maybe I mistaken this website for a solutionary site then a reference site...

  2. This blog, which is simply designed to provide a "big picture" view of the Stadium Saga news, has long contended the Trop was built on the wrong side of the bay.

    But search for a "solution" you mentioned assumes there is first a "problem." As a watchdog, it's important to point out the team has yet to provide any real evidence that there is a problem.

    Forbes believes the Rays are one of the most profitable teams in baseball, and while their recent run is likely unsustainable, the need to "simply keep up with the Joneses" doesn't necessarily indicate a NEED to spend hundreds of millions of public dollars on a new stadium.

  3. Well, if the "problem" is the bottom line, then there isn't, why(?), because smart teams don't lose money, and being in 2 of America's top 20 media markets helps cover the attendance issue, along w/ cheap rent, and payroll. BUT, the bottom line, IS winning. So what if a new ballpark brought the needed revenue to "sustain"?
    Noah, if you want my opinion, I think your underestimating the fan base of your cities team, and the future of the Tampa Bay area. Our population is booming, a lot of people have a lot of money here, and a lot of those people come from baseball rich cities up north. The "problem" is degressives that basically think "if they build it, they WON'T come". Walk around the area between downtown and Channelside, the future of tall buildings of more big businesses and condo is coming. Now take a PNC park-like park (w/ a canvases roof), put it where ConAgra foods factory is. Given Vinik rebuilds CS like he attends to. What do you have in 10-15 years? A Rays stadium in the middle of maybe the best area's in southeastern United States. You have Wesley Chapel/New Tampa to the north (which are boomtowns now, think then), Ybor city, USF w/ another 10-15 years under it's belt, and probably playing the ACC. The Aquarium, Bush Gardens, the Hard Rock casino ("the 6th biggest casino in the world"), a newly constructed Channelside plaza, a major cruise port, all in a city close to double the size of it's downtown now, Brandon, and Riverview is growing, talks of a rail system will be more probable by then, Orlando is continually growing this way, the Lightning has a great young team that's a good goalie away from competing for the Stanley Cup for the next 10 years backed by as great of front office as the Rays have. So with all that given, with the Rays smack dab in the middle of it all, how could Hillsborough county NOT make money from the Rays for generations to come. It's NOT about now (right now we're just coming out of a recession, money is tight), I get it, BUT read the papers, watch the news (lol), read between the lines, look 5-10-20-50 years down the road, you'll understand it's not a maybe it'll work, it's a matter of when. Tampa isn't Cleveland, Buffalo, Oakland, Milwaukee, Tampa's growing by the day with smart people at the helm working hard to build a brighter future then almost any other city in the United States...