A new ballpark, whether in St. Petersburg or Tampa, likely would bring in more revenue, but that might be offset if Rays ownership has to pick up a large portion of construction costs and service the debt that would go with it.It came courtesy of Tampa Tribune guest columnist Joe Brown, who has always had a firm grasp on the Stadium Saga. He's right - stadiums generally don't make sense unless you can get someone else to build it for you.
For the longest time, the talk about the Rays financial problems have revolved around Tropicana Field.It was 2010 when I first wrote of the Rays' impending windfall of TV cash that would help close the revenue deficit the team and league love to hint at. But for as much as I loved seeing it detailed in the pages of the Trib, it sadly won't get nearly the eyeballs Nick Cafardo's latest boogeyman column will get in the pages of the Boston Globe.
In the age of regional cable networks shelling out billions of dollars to some teams, however, The Trop is a secondary issue to the Rays TV deal with SunSports. Forbes magazine estimates that with the new, richer deals signed by many teams, local television revenue could exceed $1.5 billion in 2015. In this day and age, it’s not butts in seats that matter most; it’s eyeballs on screens.
That’s why the Los Angeles Dodgers, playing in the second oldest park in the National League, had baseball’s highest payroll after the team signed a 25-year deal with Time Warner Cable that will pay an estimated $6 billion.
The Rays’ current cable deal, which runs through the 2016 season, pays the team $20 million a year, which looked good when signed but is paltry compared with some of the recent deals other clubs have inked.
The Trop may be considered a burden by Bud Selig and others, but in the short term that’s the least of the Rays’ handicaps.