Monday, March 30, 2015

How Much of the Stadium Saga is Hillsborough's Fault?

In case you missed it, the Times' Tom Jones wrote an interesting piece contending the failure to fill the stands at Tropicana Field is a responsibility shared by residents of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.  A few of his insightful thoughts:
Maybe the stadium is in a bad spot. Maybe it should be in Tampa somewhere. But saying that leaves Hillsborough County fans off the hook.

Yeah, it's a pain for Hillsborough County residents to go to Tropicana Field. Know what else is a pain? For Pinellas County fans to go to Lightning games, especially because the Tampa suits can't figure out how to keep traffic moving during rush hour along Gandy Boulevard starting at the hump of the bridge. And the Howard Frankland Bridge on a weekday after work? Yeah, good luck with that.

On a weekday Lightning game night, leave downtown St. Petersburg at 5:30 p.m. and see how long it takes to pull into a parking space near Amalie Arena.

But Pinellas people do it. More Rays fans in Tampa need to do the same for Rays games. Make the effort until a Rays stadium is built in Hillsborough. And Pinellas fans, feel free to make the easy drive to the Trop. If you don't, Manfred won't be giving us the same yada-yada. He will be talking about a stadium in Montreal.
As someone who drives the Gandy Bridge home to Tampa each evening - I've griped a few times about what a Lightning game does to the evening rush hour:
Traffic is a part of being a big city.  But you're crazy if you think game-night traffic gets any better than it does around the Trop.  Give St. Pete credit for this - they built great highway infrastructure around the stadium that Downtown Tampa will never be able to match.

So while a Tampa stadium would likely increase attendance, Jones is right that the Trop's struggles are largely due to Hillsborough fans' unwillingness to travel 30-40 minutes for a baseball game.


  1. 30-40 minutes is an extremely unfair estimation. It takes me 30 mins just to get to Downtown Tampa in 5 or 6pm traffic, let alone get over the bridge on any weekday. Weekend attendance isn't the problem.

  2. They need to find a way to move to Tampa. They have to work on drawing people from Orlando and the Lakeland area.

    1. Makes sense. Ask the Orlando and Lakeland people drive farther than Hillsborough residents are currently refusing to.