In fact, as nasty comments from my beloved readers attest, I was in the minority for a long time.
But today, the Lightning's owner unveiled his "master plan" for Downtown and the Channel District, and he drove one more nail into the coffin of a possible baseball stadium on his land:
The point of #JeffVinik’s #Vinikville vision is to support his @TBLightning team and its home @AmalieArena, not @RaysBaseball. @newhomestpaThalji and Ashley Kritzer from the Tampa Bay Biz Journal did a bang-up job this morning explaining Vinik's vision 140 characters at a time. Follow them for more specifics.
— Jamal Thalji (@jthalji) December 17, 2014
But what does this all mean for those other potential sites in Tampa eyed for a potential Rays stadium?
Well, all roads to a Tampa stadium now go through Vinikville - even if it's not on Vinik's land.
See, any potential stadium revenue streams (tourist taxes, CRA/TIF money, etc) could also go toward Amalie Arena and/or Vinikville projects. Which means all roads to baseball now go through Vinikville:
Is a small, $450M fixed-roof #Rays stadium on downtown #Tampa's ConAgra site ($70M pricetag) possible? Only if Vinik, #Lightning say so.
— Shadow of Stadium (@StadiumShadow) December 15, 2014
Challenge of Tampa #Rays stadium: would need LOTS of development around it to create TIF revenues...but that then competes w/Vinikville.After he fronted more than $45 million of his own money to fix up the arena, Vinik indicated he wouldn't mind recouping some through the bed tax and/or Downtown CRA. And he's in such good-graces of the elected leaders in Tampa/Hillsborough County that it's safe to assume any big retail/stadium project anywhere near downtown would all-but-require Vinik's blessing.
— Shadow of Stadium (@StadiumShadow) December 16, 2014
That's another challenging hurdle (in addition to that whole funding thing) standing in the way of a Tampa ballpark.
UPDATE: Mayor Buckhorn confirmed what this blog has long-assumed: infrastructure around Vinik's projects in Downtown Tampa & the Channel District will rely on CRA/TIF money.