Friday, October 2, 2015

Bucs Wants More Tax Money for RayJay Improvements, But Won't Extend Lease

The Buccaneers and Tampa Sports Authority (TSA) expect to ask the state legislature for additional tax dollars to help pay for renovations at Raymond James Stadium, in addition to the $26 million from Hillsborough County sales tax revenues already committed to the project.

The Bucs released details this week of a planned stadium overhaul with renovations totaling between $78 million and $100 million. The majority of the money would come from the franchise, which didn't have to pay for the stadium's initial construction in the 1990s.

ALSO READ: What the Front-Page Bucs Stadium Stories Didn't Tell You

The county owns the stadium, but the Bucs receive nearly every penny of profit generated there, including most profits from non-football events. The state already commits $2 million each year to pay off Raymond James Stadium bonds.

But new state subsidies - if approved by the 2016 legislature - could give the Bucs a million dollars per year in sales tax rebates, until the end of their lease in 2027. The money would help diffuse the team's financial commitment to the renovations.

Stadium subsidy applications to Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) are due on Nov. 1, which gives the Bucs and TSA four weeks to settle a renovation agreement and submit their application for state funds.

The two sides recently hit a snag over whether the Bucs could play a second regular-season home game as well as a preseason home game at a venue other than Raymond James Stadium. But the TSA has balked at the possibility of losing a quarter of the regular season to another city, such as London.

Hart says the TSA discussed extending the Buccaneers' lease at Raymond James Stadium past 2027 in exchange for the county's help on renovations and renegotiating its contract, but the team "was not interested at this time."

Applicants for the state money are required to show how stadium construction or renovation projects would create jobs and new economic revenue. But earlier this year, WTSP shed light on the poor return on investment state economists estimated from stadium subsidy projects, as well as the outrageous claims some teams made in their applications. 

Those factors helped prompt legislators to deny all four subsidy applicants this year. However, all four applicants went ahead with their construction projects anyway. Some are expected to re-apply for next year's funding.

ALSO READ: Four Ironic Twists to Bucs Stadium Stories...and Two Important Life Lessons

"Those dollars are being asked for by all the professional teams at this point in keep these venues up-to-date and modern," said TSA CEO Eric Hart. "We're trying to see if the program would be good for the taxpayers here."

Back in February, this blog first reported the Tampa Sports Authority had reached out to the state's DEO to inquire about the stadium subsidy program, although a TSA spokesman wouldn't confirm if the agencies had specifically discussed the Buccaneers and/or Rays.

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1 comment:

  1. Here's the deal: I need you to build me a stadium. I need you to renovate this stadium for me. I need you to help me bring home state subsidies/credits. I need you to let me play games in a different stadium from the stadium you will renovate for me. I need you to let me pocket all of the revenue. I get the money; you get the honor of being a paying fan/taxpayer and a resident of a "NFL market". Money in MY pocket, fandom in yours. On the way to becoming a billionaire, you have to knife a lot of people along the way. Some people are more willingly knifed than others.