[T]eams have started playing down financial benefits to cities and states. Instead, they talk about “intangibles,” such as boosting civic pride, or what’s now called “community self-esteem.”The story didn't really uncover any big developments, but it did point out the Rays have yet to hire a Tallahassee lobbyist...and may need to eventually. Most public officials declined comment, although it's unclear if it was due to loyalty to the Rays or St. Petersburg's threat of interference.
“Sports has this sort of cultural aura,” (author Rick Eckstein) said. “If this was public financing for a supermarket, there wouldn’t be the same support around it. Sports has a hold on us.”
The one thing the article failed to mention is why politicians always feel compelled to spend tax dollars on stadia (its for the parties, duh). Fortunately, Yahoo Sports has that covered.