Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Tampa Bay Fears Stadium Stalemate "Crisis" (Pt. II)

Interesting passage in the pages of the Tampa Bay Times:
Sternberg, speaking before Friday's season opener, said it wouldn't be long, perhaps within months, before MLB and commissioner Bud Selig get involved.

"It's imperative that we get this thing moving," Sternberg said. "The can has been kicked down the road and the road is not much longer … But there needs to be some progress. … And I think my patience is greater than Major League Baseball's."

Foster said the city has no concerns about the team leaving and isn't too worried about increased threats.
The article was written on April 1, 2011 - four years ago today.  On that day - just as today - the sportstalk lines were lighting up with concerned Rays fans proclaiming, "the end is near!" 

Well, four years later, the Rays haven't yet moved to Charlotte, San Antonio, or Montreal...and they aren't anytime soon either.

ALSO READ: Tampa Bay fears stadium stalemate "crisis" (Pt. I)

This is a two-way street; as I wrote yesterday, we shouldn't assume the stalemate is due to St. Pete leaders being stubborn; it's due to St. Pete and the Rays failing to meet in the middle.

And since it's the Rays asking for help (albeit nicely), it's up to them to step up their game.

ALSO READ: 3 things the Rays can do to break the stalemate

It's also worth revisiting this 2011 advice from the Times' editorial board:
Sternberg should make a reasonable offer to St. Petersburg after the season and ask the City Council to vote on it or make a counteroffer. He also should open the Rays' financial books to confirm that the franchise is not making mountains of money.
Key word: reasonable.  Is only $2M/yr from the Rays reasonable?  Is agreeing to simply vacate the city's ballpark land reasonable?

Who's to say what's reasonable?  For the people of St. Pete, it's their elected leaders.  And the majority of those leaders have decided the current offer is not reasonable.

So as the stalemate drags on, the next editorial from the Times should echo their 2011 statements:  the Rays should bring a more reasonable offer to the table; and the team should open its books.

Oh, and while we're at it, can we stop fretting about this being our "last chance" to keep the Rays in Tampa Bay?  Don’t believe the hype.

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  1. Good points Noah. And this is tough to say if those mood changes from the commissioner office over time and the Rays are a way to test how strong are the city council/public opinion.

    Once that said, one big thing changed between 2010 and before AND 2011 and after. Attendances.

    I know, tickets revenues are no longer a must with all those TV deals and sharing revenues but better have a smaller stadium filled than a bigger one empty.

    I agree, if it was critical for the Rays, a deal will happen with St. Pete and project to build/finance a new stadium will find its way. But I strongly believe that Sternberg is no longer convinced that the TB region is the right place. Let's say that money is not an issue to build a stadium, you give him $1G, do you think that he will move forward and build a stadium in TB?

    I don't think so.

  2. Noah is a poster child for St. Pete. Noah knows St.Pete is the joke of the national media and displays pity towards the city.

    1. Do not care and do not seek validation. Come to the beaches and restaurants and parks or not, we don't care. The community is so laid back that we don't make billion dollar decisions based on what you or ESPN thinks. You sound high strung, where do you live? Did it snow there this weekend? Can I buy you a beer?

    2. He'll no I live in Clearwater. St. Pete is a city not a beach. Those are in the beach towns. You must be living in the hood of St.Peter. The council votes everything down because they are in denial. They know St. Pete is a joke.

  3. Alternate headline: Rays-Times alliance cries wolf yet again, community yawns

  4. Why do you always say $2million a year instead of the truth, which starts at $4m, then $3m...???

    1. Since the Rays couldn't conceivably have a Tampa stadium open in just a few years, the $4M season will never happen.

      And since the agreement offers $0 for the 2027 missed season, it averages to about $2M/yr for what the Rays would actually pay.

  5. Lol, the Rubes in Montreal are even more willing to be taxed another 30%! Roughly 30% of purchases go to the government. It's a joke. I spent a week in Quebec and a week in Montreal. Nice places, not worth the prices though. I really do like Schwartz's in Montreal. Best sandwich I have ever eaten. I have never eaten 2 sandwiches in my life, I did at Swartz's though!

    1. You quickly conclude that a new stadium in Montreal = more taxes. That will not be the case. Otherwise, we all know we will not have a stadium and baseball. End of story.

      We have several scenarios on the table:

      1. Immigrant Investors program to finance partially or completely the stadium

      2. Caisse de dépôt et de placements du Québec can partially or completely finance the stadium. It will be an asset for them. They have more than $200B in cash and assets and if the business model of investing in a stadium (and a Light Rail System that will stop nearby the stadium, the LRS project is planned, $1.2B in investment) make sense, they will be part of the deal for sure. They better invest in assets in Quebec than investing in Airports and other projects around the world. It's our pension plan arm.

      3. Private funding from large firms around the world (China, ...).

      4. Private funding from a Canadian company

      5. A combination of the 4 scenarios

      So far, I don't see an taxes increase. Do you?

      But I do agree, Schwartz's is one of the place to go. But we are lucky, we have plenty of amazing restaurants and a great night life with festivals, attractions and major events (like F1, Osheaga, international sports competitions, ...). All the baseball fans from Toronto, NY, Boston, Baltimore, and the Northeastern states will come to Montreal to watch games and enjoy the city, the people and the history.

    2. 1, 3, 4, and 5 could also apply to Tampa Bay or to any team in any sport. Some unnamed, rich Chinese person buys the team and builds a stadium? Sweet. Is that specific to Montreal at all? Nope. I get that you are trying to project the appearance of momentum, but these are silly.

    3. I never said 1,3,4 and 5 only apply to Montreal. I just said taxes increases is not an option and will not happen for such project.

      #4 with other private investors is not an appearance of momentum. The names are already public if you follow carefully what is going on over here.

      Bell Media (that was ready to invest $5B in NHL TV rights in Canada and need content for TSN1-5, RDS1-2, TSN Radio across Canada, ...), Dollorama's CEO, Mitch Gerber, Bronfman, ...

      #2 is an interesting one, not confirmed by CDPQ but it is an interesting project that CDPQ need at least to evaluate. Same thing for buying/financing a sports team. CDPQ financed George Gillet when he bought the Habs and the Bell Center. So if CDPQ can help an American buying the Habs, why CDPQ will not help Canadians buying/investing in baseball in Montreal?

      Ontario teachers fund did invested in Toronto in sports and their investment was highly profitable. This is also public and well documented.

      So there are scenarios on the table and Warren Cromartie confirmed yesterday that within one year, a serious plan (for a team and a stadium) will be released with private investors commitments and all parties that need to be involved. Mayor Coderre will be the key person here to facilitate this process.

      This is not appearance, this is momentum. If you don't believe it, that's OK. But over here, there is no doubt. "Moe Mentum" is playing in our team!

    4. I think I have "Moe's" rookie card.

      I agree that of everything, #2 is the difference maker. If they can finance a stadium without dipping into public funds, that would easily win over any dissent. And given that Olympic Stadium needs a couple hundred million in repairs, why not cut the losses on the white elephant, and invest in something new, closer to the Downtown core. I know in addition to watching the exhibition games form home this weekend, I'll be keeping an eye out for any and all articles about MLB's return to Montreal.

      Who knows, maybe in a perfect world, a similar type investment fund could help the situation in Tampa Bay?

  6. Mayor Coderre was just with the media:

    It's serious. He says we are not doing this for nothing, but one step at a time. In the next year, we will have more amazing surprises, he continues. Coderre is also buoyed by Manfred's positive signals. (Funny.. I did not hear anything of Charlotte or Vegas).

    I support Coderre's journey and the next two days in Montreal will be to celebrate and dream. Sorry Rays you are in the crosshairs only because this is the option that has the most potential.

    1. Coderre confirms that within a year (same date next year), a clear plan (private investments and stadium) will be ready. Private money is not a problem (this is what he said), investors are serious.

      Meeting with Manfred will be scheduled in the next few weeks, agenda between the commissioner office and mayor office is almost ready for this meeting.

      And Stu is speaking french to journalists at the camp! where there smoke, there's fire.

      "Moe Mentum" seems to play for Montreal's team!