Sunday, October 6, 2013

Everything That's Wrong About Stadium Saga Coverage

I sympthaize with news producers, since its not easy filling a newscast on a Saturday night.  But last night, Tampa Bay's WFLA-TV last night did the cliche "what would a new stadium mean for the Rays" story again.
There was no link to the story available online, but the gist of the story: Rays fans would go to more games if the stadium were closer to them:
  • "I feel like I'd go to a lot more games if it was closer to where I live," said one fan.
  • "It'd be a lot better if it was more in our home area," said another.
The Tampa Bay media landscape is littered with unscientific polling about where the next MLB stadium should be built.  And not surprisingly, fans almost always answer, "closer to me."  It's worth pointing out there are 1.1 million residents of Hillsborough County compared to just 900,000 in Pinellas.

But the WFLA story also included a few intelligent thoughts: one fan said the Rays just need some more time to build its young fan base, while another said Tampa Bay fans are just too lazy to drive to a baseball game (an idea explored here before).

And the problem with much of the media coverage of the Stadium Saga is that the questions have been limited to the mindless, "where should a stadium be built?"  Then, these largely-uneducated opinions ("a new stadium closer to me would be better!") dominate the conversaion.

Instead, we should be asking fans questions that matter:
  • Would you go to more games if the stadium were in Tampa, but tickets were more expensive?
  • Should the Rays have to open their books before they receive any public subsidies?
  • How much of a half-billion dollar stadium should the public pay for, versus the team?
  • How much of a new stadium's revenue should the public get, versus the team?
  • Would we be better just writing the team a $100 million check so it can "remain compeitive?"


  1. I suspect you threw it in there only to stifle the usual trolls, however to say that Pinellas County has "just" 900,000 people compared to 1.1 million in Hillsborough does not tell the whole story.

    According to WikiPedia, Hillsborough encompasses 1,200 square miles, while Pinellas encompasses just 600. Hillsborough has just over 1,000 people per square mile, while Pinellas has more than 3,000, making it one of the most densely populated areas in the country.

    Guess my only point is that some folks in Hillsborough will have a much farther drive to any new Tampa stadium than most folks in Pinellas do to the Trop. Only time will tell if those outlying Hillsborough residents are more motivated to go to Baseball games than are the folks in Pinellas.

    1. And let's not forget the elephant in the room, the . . . frugality . . . of most folks down here, at least in Pinellas. Perhaps it's because of low-paying service jobs, or people on fixed incomes, but I've never encountered more . . . frugal people in my life (I'm using the word "frugal" in lieu of one with a much more negative connotation.)

      Perhaps the people in Hillsborough are less . . . frugal . . . than folks in Pinellas, or will the Rays still allow people to bring their own food and drink into the games?

      Almost worth losing the Rays to Tampa to find out.

    2. Well, bottom line is that there's 3x's more people that live within a 30 min. drive of Channelside then the Trop, 3x's more! That also includes a lot of snowbirds that don't live here during the baseball months, but claim south, and central Pinellas county as their primary residence. Plus, you have to factor in the large Latino pop in the Tampa area, and the fact that the areas around Tampa like Wesley Chapel, Brandon, Valrico, Riverview, etc. that are growing wild unlike any areas just outside of St.Pete. Why? Because like I have said many times on here, yinz like to only think about now, but it's not about now, it's about baseball in downtown Tampa in 2020-30-50!

    3. Would love to see the source of your terribly inaccurate numbers.

    4. What a shame when a news reporter needs to read it on another web site to validate simple facts.

  2. Heh heh -
    Yes, let them inherit another awful team they'll be wasting tax money on for decades. It's certainly worth trying.

    There's more to see, do and enjoy in St .Pete than there ever will be in Tampa. All of those simpletons want a stadium to be closer, but I'll bet they'd hate having it across the street, and even if it does relocate to Tampa (only after St. Pete gets a substantial payout), they still won't go to the games.

    Then the braintrust at the paper can write articles about "Why we're not supporting our RAYS?!?!?", as if it's our responsibility to pay even MORE money to go see a shitty team lose games in a taxpayer-subsidized palace.

    1. Paula, are you personally as dumb as you comments are?