Sunday, January 25, 2015

Teams Prove the Scary Repercussion of Not Publicly-Financing They Have to Pay for it Themselves

Monday night at 11, I'll have another report on WTSP/10 News about the push for state tax dollars for the Jaguars, Dolphins, Daytona International Speedway, and Orlando City Soccer club.  This follows my questions for the governor...which basically went nowhere.

Sure, teams are quick to point out how many Floridians they employ over the course of a season. In fact, teams often claim if they don't get the tens of millions of dollars they're seeking for stadium construction or renovations, many Floridians could lose their jobs.

But a closer look at the facts shows the potentially-scary repercussions of rejecting stadium subsidies seldom come to fruition. For example:

  • Officials at Daytona International Speedway sought $60 million from the state in 2013 for its "Daytona Rising" renovation project. They reportedly said the track wouldn't remain "relevant" without the money. But when the subsidies failed to pass through the legislature, International Speedway Corp. (which owns NASCAR) moved ahead and privately-funded the entire $400 million renovation project.

  • The Jacksonville Jaguars failed to secure $2 million/yr from the state in 2013 for renovations to their home, EverBank Field. The team indicated "major events (would) look past everything Jacksonville has to offer" without the money. But when the bill failed to pass, the team paid for the renovations on its own. EverBank Field already receives $2 million/yr from the state.
Yet all three projects return to the legislature in 2015, seeking tens of millions from the state for the projects that are already underway and funded.

Sometimes, good ole-fashioned political lobbying even trumps scary hypotheticals.

Check out the stories tomorrow on-air or online for more.


  1. And remember, a lot of those alleged jobs - such as staffing concession stands go to volunteers of charitable organizations instead of to jobholders, thereby reducing the cost to the sports teams of providing concessions.

  2. So Noah, are you insinuating that Stu's threats are empty? that playing hardball with the Rays will simply cause them to pay for their own new stadium? because we're not talking about renovations here, we're talking about a whole new ballpark. And the last time I checked, the Giants and Cardinals are the only 2 of 30 teams to have paid for 100% of a new stadium. Not to mention, I think it's safe to assume Stu and the Rays don't earn as much money as the Giants and Cards. I don't think playing hardball is wise if we want to keep the Rays in the Bay Area, because the Rays are unlikely going to pay for their own stadium.

    1. Didn't say anything about the Rays' threats...but as the last five years have proven, there is probably less urgency to the region than the team would like you to believe:

      PS - The Cardinals did not.

    2. Ok fine, so only 1 of 30 teams paid for 100% of their own stadium. That's even worse.

      You can go ahead and be as patient as you want, but 5 years ago, no other city was serious about getting an MLB club like now. 5 years ago we didn't hear about potential owners in other cities like we are now. But 5 years ago we still had this same stadium problem.

      You can go ahead and be patient, but I'll be realistic; there is no way that the Rays will still be in the Bay Area in 5 years if the stadium situation is unchanged. If the region doesn't want to be urgent, they can go ahead and play hardball with the Rays and sour the relationship even more. I'd rather be urgent so we can keep the Rays than be delusional.

    3. 100% agree.

      Montreal is almost ready to get a team (an existing one or a new one) by 2020.

      Major announcements are expected in the next few months especially with the Reds/Jays games in April. If Manfred (and Sternberg) is attending one of the games at the Big 'O', Montreal will be one step closer to have a team.

      And unfortunately for TB, the only realistic scenario is to move the Rays. I don't see more fans in the Trop in 2015, I don't see a sense of urgency to support the Rays in TB.

      Remember, 6 or 8 fans showed up at the City Council back in December 2014 to talk about the MOU. Again, less than 10. There will be more than 100 000 fans in the Big 'O' April 3-4 if the ticket sales is keeping the pace. So far, more than 65 000 tickets are sold for the two games and the TV ratings will probably be great.

    4. 6 or 8 fans at the City Council meeting on a weekday in December, versus 100,000 at two MLB exhibition games on a weekend in April? As apples to oranges as possibly could be.

      The Expos project has to:
      1) Get its ownership group together, first and foremost
      2) Get the ownership to come up with the money necessary to buy the team (keep in mind that franchise valuations are skyrocketing atm)
      3) Get Montreal to actually build a new ballpark, the cost of which will be shoulder, at least in part, by the public (never an easy ask in MTL)

      The 2015 Rays aren't the 2000's Expos. They're not dead men walking in a lame duck market like Montreal was at the new millennium. The stadium situation in TB may be unchanged come 2020, but who's to say things will have shifted dramatically in MTL by then?