Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Joe Henderson on Fight for Tampa's $100 Million

The morning after Michael Sasso reported on the jockying for Tampa's expected $100 million in upcoming bonding capacity, columnist Joe Henderson added more perspective:
If the battle lines over money are taking shape in Tampa before the Rays even know if they can leave St. Pete, what will it be like if it ever gets really serious here? 

I can promise you, when it comes to how their taxes are spent, people really do mind. If we don’t know that yet, we may find out soon enough.
Note: The TBO link isn't working, so you can read the whole column here.


  1. Noah,

    Regarding this snippet from Joe's column:

    "It's about $13 million annually from a special downtown district currently committed to paying off bonds at the Tampa Convention Center. It's a funding mechanism called tax-increment financing, which basically allows municipalities to pay for big-ticket items in a specified area without saddling the general populace with the bill."

    So what is the 'source' of these revenues? Where does this $13 million actually come from?


    1. The TIF revenues are property taxes from Downtown Tampa properties. Monies could be used in a lot of different ways if not for a stadium.

  2. The tax payers don't need to pay a single cent for this stadium. Any politician who votes to use public money on a stadium will face criticism. How much have the Rays helped St. Pete? How much have the Marlins helped Miami? There is no evidence that sports teams are beneficial to the communities they are in.

    1. Well "anonymous", would you buy your boss dinner if at dinner he was going to offer you a promotion? It's called investing, and I would do some research before saying "that sports teams are" not "beneficial to the community...

    2. If that dinner cost me as much as the promotion would pay me, no, I wouldn't do it.

    3. LOL, "naive Noah", forget dinner, do you really believe Tampa won't recoup a 100-200 million investment within a 10-20 year time frame?
      Before even counting the revenue from a single MLB played @ the NEW Trop @ Channelside, they would make at least $60 million from hosting the 2020 All-Star game (though these days it's a week long event), and $60 is what KC made last year, NY is projecting $200 million which would cover Tampa's whole investment in a single week, AND still be collecting a mortgage payment every month (or whatever) from the Rays! SOOO what's the beef? Besides even if Tampa just broke even (which is impossible to not make more), it's a great benefit to the citizens of Central Florida to have Major League Baseball to go see!
      If the Rays has $200 million, the city kicks in about $100-$150, and they can get $100-$150 from naming rights & other promised advertising, then what's the issue besides politics? Though like I posted before, it would be wise & might be necessary on that tight of a budget to cut cost by building a canvas-like sort of sail, maybe like they planned on where Al Lang is in St.Pete many years ago, and by gutting the current Trop of stuff like the score board, seats, the wall that surrounds the field, etc. to put into the new park, plus saving on the parking cost with Vinnik's help...
      Again, we're talking about very smart financial elitist & politicians that own 2 of ESPN's top 16 out of 122 ranked franchises (the Marlins was 67 & the Bucs were 97), I'm incline to be optimistic, and I'm incline to believe you will to when you understand the plan...

    4. LOL, dam! That might be my best post to date!

  3. Ugh. No, not really a great post. Full of logical holes and the slobbering fan-boy attitude that makes me really despise the pro-sports fans in the debate.

    Basically your argument is that "If we shovel millions of dollars into this private enterprise, we're GUARANTEED to make millions more back!"

    All of that hinges on impossible factors. And besides, it's ethically wrong. You can make the same argument for shoveling millions of dollars into a hotdog stand. It doesn't make it right to funnel all that tax revenue into a private company that some citizens don't care to patronize. Would you be so eager to toss $700 million dollars into a ballet arena if it promised that it would churn out millions in profits to the city?

    Your team is already being subsidized by the people of this city and state. And they've repaid that by asking for hundreds of millions more. That's money being diverted from civic interests and upkeep. The owners are already hoovering up your taxes and getting sweetheart deals on paying any taxes of their own. Hell, they won't even open up their books so that we can verify that they need the money. How many loans have you gotten without having to show your finances?

    Make no mistake, baseball is a business. An EXTREMELY profitable business. Sternberg and the rest of the owners aren't doing this to benefit anyone in this area, they're doing it to enrich themselves.

    And it's laughable to think that any kind of a new stadium will "cut costs". Cost overruns are almost guaranteed and as we've seen PROOF of time and time again, the lawyers for these teams guarantee that they never end up paying for more. In fact they're usually scot-free of any obligations at all. What's to keep them from raising ticket prices the second a stadium opens? What would that do to attendance? And what happens if they DON'T bring in the money they're promising or win a championship? How much is a championship worth and what should the people in the city get back if they don't win one?

    You don't care to consider any of these questions. Even when there's a good example sitting off Dale Mabry - a shiny new football stadium to house a lousy team with a losing record.

    1. Well, we'll have to agree to disagree in a difference ideology. We have, like all cities that begin the stages of building a new stadium, heard your type of points on the issue forever, and they're uninformed & digressive. Basically investing in the future of a city is what cities been doing forever. You can make your same argument about everything in Tampa, it's RiverWalk, it's Convention Center, it's sidewalks, it's parks, it's railroad system, it's paving of roads, paying people that run the city, etc.. All things in their own way all help a city grow. I would suggest maybe moving to a place with your similar opinions when it comes to progressing like maybe Brooksville, maybe Arcadia, maybe Mulberry, or any other run down town that doesn't have the luxury of using their "shiny new stadium" to host Super Bowls & All-Star games, and bring hundreds of thousands of people to their town to spend many millions collectively. And, actually they're the same towns that has a lot of their citizens take their money earned in town & spend it in the city which is simple economics of how a place digresses financially...

    2. Wow. Way to avoid any shred of proof, data or facts and just keep parroting the same stupid non-reasons that we're expected to fall hook, line and sinker in the debate about the "need" for a new stadium.

      I can't even disagree with any of your points because you can't manage to make a single, sensible argument why it's a debatable position. Nearly every study done shows that sports teams are a crap deal for the places that host them.

      Cute that you think I should live somewhere without a pro team, as if only cities with a team can be "successful". I guarantee you'll find a lot more cities that fell for the false promise that teams are guaranteed money-makers and now find themselves with no budgets and the same teams making the same old threats to move to greener pastures. And if these stadiums were such an obvious good deal, the owners and supporters like you wouldn't need to ram though the deals without public votes and with phony piggybacked issues. (Good ol' Raymond James stadium had to promise to 'benefit education' to pass)

      And maybe you need to look up the meaning of "infrastructure", because while cities need parks, roads and civil employees, I think we can do just fine without lining the already deep pockets of monopoly team owners with even more public money.

      If you're not a paid shill, then you're clearly the kind of brainless fanatic that thinks it's a great deal to pay inflated ticket prices, pay to park, get robbed at concession while you sit in empty bleachers and watch a bunch of losing athletes chase a ball around a field for 9 innings. Maybe you should move to Cleveland or Miami ?

  4. Dufala, your logic is flawed:

    1) It will cost a lot more than $100-200M in public contributions to make a stadium happen. Likely dealing with at least $400M in public subsidies since a stadium would be $550M+ and it may take another $50-100M to buy out St. Pete's contract.

    2) $60M in All-Star stimulus is far-fetched; If 20,000 people come from out of town, they'd need to spend between $17,000 and $43,000 each in Tampa Bay to recoup $60M in tax money (and even then, much of that goes to the state).

    3) You assume naming rights to a stadium would go toward paying for the building, but in many cases, the team wants to keep the money for itself. Dedicating naming rights revenues toward a stadium would be a line-item loss for the team.

    4) Your theory on a bare-bones outdoor stadium is in nobody's best interest. If you don't build a retractable roof, it may not be worth even building a new park.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. LOL, OK Noah, I'm not going to argue with narrow minded people like how you only tried to use a guess of 20k in attendance for an All-Star Game to win a debate, when a smarter person would understand that there would be an influx of well over 100k that would come from out of town for a whole week including media, sponsors & advertisers from all over the world, part time workers to help, money funneled from MLB them selves through the team and back into the community like all the money spent on locals improving the park ahead of time, money from a lot of other events people attend that don't attend the actual All-Star game like the FanFest & HR Derby, money toward local charities, etc....
      But, the Rays isn't your ex-employers of the Red Sux, there smarter people that don't use there wallets to solve problems, BUT who am I to debate a "investigative reporter" from Bahstun that doesn't investigated anything, guesses on everything, and continues to post postings that follow the "nothing is good" motto to rile up his "navie" followers. The real fact that a Tampa "reporter" stays in denial, and thinks he has a gasp on the local sports when they're planning on building a Major League Baseball stadium right under our noses speaks for it self...
      Take off the shades, look @ the whole picture, and stay classy Noah

      -> here's a web reference to back my belief. http://isnoahpranskyafraud.tumblr.com/

    3. Again, appreciate you bolstering the website's traffic Dufala!

    4. Aha, anything to help shed light on the right side of the coin... lol

    5. HAH HAH - Ohhh, Man, you *uncorked* it and called them the "Red SUX" that is soooo great! Boy, I guess that's all the proof I need to set fire to more huge bales of money at the altar of pro baseball.

      Oh, no wait a second. After reading your comments I realized that you managed to weasel out of acknowledging any facts or evidence that stadiums are a crappy deal for taxpayers, cities, tourists, charities, infrastructure, etc. etc.

      You wouldn't realize the truth if it was stapled to your forehead. It's nice to actually meet someone who buys into all of the lies that Sternberg and his ilk are peddling. Small wonder they can keep clamoring for new stadiums when there are people like you who're ready to buy into the scam Every. Single. Time.

      Maybe I can interest you in these magic beans I'm looking to sell?

    6. Well, let's just say there's progressives that keeps an eye on the future like how the Rays keep replenishing their farm system for the future, and there's digressives that only live for the moment, and usually end up damping their futures like over-spending teams, or cities that don't reinvest while hoping something good happens. Ultimately I hate to break the news for you, but Tampa is a very progressive with a very bright future because of it , and though it hurt us for a few years during the recession, Tampa is going to be a totally different city in 10 years, including a packed ballpark in Channelside on summer evenings, so again, maybe a small rundown town might suit you better. Plus, Pauly, you might think you understand politics more because you watch FOXNews or listen to Rush, but know that I forgot more about all aspects of sports then you'll ever learn. And as far as "truth", I don't need to explain logic by providing more inside information, besides I have read 0 facts from you, and you would think the "investigating reporter" would "investigate" more about all the avenues of revenues the city of Tampa would gain over the next century then just reposting other issues w/ a lil' of his own commentating like he's TMZ...

  5. B. Dufala, what proof or evidence do you have that sports teams are beneficial to communities? Go read this, and see if you have the same opinion. www.brookings.edu/research/articles/1997/06/summer-taxes-noll