As franchises in all pro sports like to say, it’s about being “competitive.”This is a point I've written about ad nauseam: a new stadium might draw 25,000 fans, but it won't make much of a difference to the Rays' bottom lines. I may have tweeted it a few times too:
If you look at the numbers, though, I’m not sure the way the Rays have to do business changes that much with a new stadium. They would have more money, yes, but at the same time, revenues are escalating in many franchises around the majors.
Don't blame Tampa Bay; Friedman & Maddon would have left the Rockies, Brewers, or Orioles too for those millions. http://t.co/9Mf3uKA1MOHenderson's Sunday column continues with a look at all that TV money:
— Shadow of Stadium (@StadiumShadow) October 26, 2014
The real difference-maker for franchises is in the rights fees they draw from cable companies because, unlike national TV money, it isn’t shared with other franchises.This is the exact problem which led me to write about Bud Selig's lasting legacy of competitive imbalance last month.
Their ratings have generally been strong, ranking in the upper half of MLB teams for the last several years. Even if the Rays can negotiate a deal that doubles their Fox Sports money (a major assumption) though, how does that stack up with $340 million a year the Los Angles Dodgers will receive through 2038 from SportsNet LA?
Do we have to ask why former Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman bolted Tampa Town for a job running the Dodgers in Tinsel Town?
Which leads Henderson to conclude "scrap(ing) about $700 million together to build" a stadium has nothing to do with making the Rays more competitive:
For all the talk about the Rays as a crown jewel for Tampa Bay, no one has yet come up with a regional idea to pay for a new stadium.
Mention regional cooperation on something like this and it’s like when the waiter brings the bill for dinner, and everyone at the table looks the other way or reaches for their cellphone until someone finally gets stuck with the check.#Truth.
I’ve always felt there is only one reason that any city gets involved in projects like this. Raymond James Stadium was built because voters decided they wanted professional football in town, not because of the alleged economic bonanza these franchises bring to a community.
If the Rays get a new stadium, it will be for the same reason. One side of the bay will have decided we’re better off with baseball than without, and we’d all like a better place to watch the games.
It won’t be for the economic impact, and it certainly won’t be because the Rays will start spending like the Yankees and Boston Red Sox. Take it or leave it on that basis.