Thursday, October 29, 2015

St. Pete Taxpayers to Pay for Second Baseball Stadium?

Mayor Rick Kriseman meets with the Rays today to present city council's latest offer: basically a $4.2 million/yr termination fee for leaving St. Pete before 2027.  That's double what the Rays and Kriseman previously negotiated, but a fraction of the $19 million/yr the Tampa Bay Times once suggested the Rays pay.

Of course, if the team stays, the price is zero.

In fact, Kriseman has been steadfast in his city's ability to put together the best package for a new stadium right on the current Tropicana Field site.

But even if St. Pete redevelops the Trop into a 15-acre stadium with 70 acres of residential, retail, and commercial space, it's not quite sure where the funding would come from.  Did Kriseman support new city taxes going toward a new stadium when taxpayers have already paid for another decade's worth of baseball in St. Pete?

The mayor said it wouldn't have to be "new" taxes since bed taxes and private money from redeveloping the Trop could be enough.   But that's quite a tall task...and some serious speculation.

Yes, the single-biggest pot of potential stadium money in all of Tampa Bay is Pinellas County's tourist tax.  Even if the county's tourism industry would allow two full cents of sales tax to go toward a new MLB stadium, we're only looking at approximately $12 million per year of revenue, which might bond approx. $150 million in construction. 

Even if the Rays, who refuse to talk about their contributions, are willing to pay $150-200 million, we're still a looooong way from paying for a new fixed-roof stadium, even if it only costs $450 million. 

That'd mean at least $50-100 million in local tax dollars - comparable to what St. Pete was paying for 30 years on Tropicana Field - but also money that could go toward the city's countless other needs.

It may all be a moot point if you believe the Rays should be in Tampa anyway.  Of course, that city doesn't have any cash to pay for a stadium either...but I digress.

As for today's meeting, don't expect the Rays to offer much in response.  Why show your cards now when you don't even know the hand you're holding?  New councilmembers will be elected next Tuesday, Nov. 3.

FOLLOW: Shadow of the Stadium on Twitter
FOLLOW: Shadow of the Stadium on Facebook


  1. No location, no money, no willingness to work as partners. This marriage s over. Time to let the Rays go and leave Tampa....

  2. In the meantime, the big news today is Alex Anthopoulos departure from the Blue Jays.

    The question that all baseball specialists and fans are asking on Twitter is: Does AA is the new Expos GM to be announced after the World Series (Mayor Coderre said last week that major announcements are coming)?

    When Mayor Coderre is speaking one-to-one with baseball fans, he's relax and says with a smile, don't worry, it's coming!

    Stay Tuned!

    1. Huge supporter of the cause in Montreal, but don't be delusional to think that AA would come to be the "new Expos GM" next week. Talk about putting the cart before the horse. It's (no offense) a ridiculous idea with no merit and if you think AA would consider something like that when he's likely the MLB Exec of the Year this year and will have teams calling him for a job, well then, I don't know what to tell you. At the right time, yes, he's a great candidate. That time is not now.

    2. Of course AA will have several offers, no doubts about that.

      Once that said, I'm just asking the question (that all commentators and fans are asking today) is if MBP should offer him an important role (with lots of money, of course) to be part of the process in Montreal considering he have all the contacts and he's well respected across the league. It could be a very interesting challenge for him.

      And all the teams knows that AA will leave their team as soon as the Expos are back. So which team will hire him not knowing when he will leave?

      Again, just asking questions, I have no clue if this scenario is feasible or not, if MBP is ready to cut a check and let AA start working on players evaluation (especially if it's an expansion).

      AA had several meetings with MBP (Cromartie and al.) and mayor Coderre. I won't be surprise if Beeston is hired as a part time consultant. Such duo would be a tremendous team to start with.

      In the meantime, I'm wishing him the best.

    3. "all baseball specialists and fans are asking..."

      What kind of coke dreams are you having? I've not heard a single talking head mention Anthopoulos and the Expos in the same sentence.

      And as anon above me said, teams will be trampling over themselves to obtain his services in the offseason. I'm guessing he'll land on his feet soon enough at a team that already exists.

    4. Morosi was one of the first to tweet about it early this morning.

      You don't seem to follow twitter. That's OK.

      You may be right with the fact that AA will sign with a new team soon. On the other hand, he just confirm few minutes ago that he will have plenty of time to start looking at possible roles and did not discuss with any teams so far.

      But I'm sure Mayor Coderre talk to him about MBP during the summer and at their last meeting in Toronto.

      We'll see.

    5. BTW, does the Rays are interested? Would be a bold move to have AA with the Rays!

      It will send a strong signal to the fans and the community, right? I mean, for the Rays team development, of course. ;)

    6. BTW, AA knows how to manage a team playing on turf with lots of fans in the stands. That's a good start and a good fit, I think.

    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. How great that would that be!

  4. 1) Sternberg will not invest a penny to remain last in MLB attendance, even with new stadium.

    2) Rays' payroll whittled down to bare bones and Longoria rumored to be traded.

    3) Montreal Mayor Coderre walking around with a swagger these days, he knows he's got the goods!

    4) Rays will pull a "Cleveland Brown become Baltimore Ravens" by end of 2016 season.

    It's over.

    1. That last point might be the most absurd thing I've ever read on the comment section here. That really takes some doing.

      The worst that could happen by 2016 is that Sternberg could open the possibility of selling the Rays, and not necessarily to a local buyer. Anything beyond that is just putting the cart before the horse.

    2. Not as absurd as you may think. The deal is done in my opinion.

      Isn't bolting (sorry about the pun) from a lease before 2027 and selling the team to buyers outside of Tampa / St Pete and then battling it out in the courts for years and years essentially the same thing?

      Who says that Sternberg will not be part of the Montreal ownership group under a shadow company name?

      It's no longer a question of "if" but rather "when".

      IF the Rays renew their TV deal and there is a penalty clause for vacating the contract early, then we will know many of us were wrong about the Rays to Montreal scenario.

      IF the Rays do not renew their TV contract, or use the same stalling tactics as with the Stadium, then the WHEN becomes end of 2016 season.

    3. I remember when John Farrell left the Jays because the Red Sox job was his dream job, him alluding to the fact that AA would leave the Jays for an Expos GM position, as it would have been his dream job. 3 years for AA to create a team from the ground up would be good given his track record of building up the farm. Pure speculation, but it would not be unlike Buck Showalter working with the Arizona Diamondbacks before 1998.

      The only problem being that MLB may be ready for expansion into Montreal, but they need a second city, and nothing indicates that Mexico is ready yet, despite Manfred's recent press conference. While there's lots of work to be done in getting MLB back to Montreal, I would think that a Mexican expansion would need even more work, and time.

      Finally, for the Rays fans out there, if Longoria were traded, would your interest change at all? On the one hand, it wouldn't be much different than Price, Shields, and everyone else being dealt, but given his reasonable salary, would you take the trade as being indicative of deeper problems within the franchise?

    4. @Matt
      There are no other markets, other than Montreal, that are mature enough in the process to be expansion ready any time soon.

      Commissioner Manfred has only said that the Tampa and Oakland issues need to be fixed before there is any talk of expansion. Expansion is 7-10 years away.

      Much energy, and with high profile people, have been talking about getting MLB baseball back in Montreal. Moves are imminent.

      Stay tuned. Major announcements to come between the end of the 2015 World Series and 2016 Opening Day.

    5. "Finally, for the Rays fans out there, if Longoria were traded, would your interest change at all?"

      Matt - do the three people you are asking this to even know who Longoria is? As far as they are concerned when they see the name Longoria, they just read Long Gone... and by that, it's the team, not the player!

    6. I want to see baseball back in Montreal, but I am less optimistic that it will be through relocation, just given the time frame. Even before the Expos left in 2004, the writing had been on the wall for years. Everyone knew it would happen, but it took a while to get the process going. I just can't see the Rays up and leaving Florida in such a short period of time, especially with the money being left on the table, their expected increased TV revenue. Not to mention the "leaving town" fees they are bound to be saddled with.

      As for your second point, I do like putting out questions to Rays fans on here, not that I ever get answers. Hard to find them on here. It seems like this place is only ever really buzzing when Montreal is brought up. Bad for the brand, but always good for a laugh when I say "Hey Rays" fans, and a tumble weed goes by.

    7. That's why I'm saying preferred scenario is expansion (MLB was in Portland this summer to evaluate the potential of the city and the investors) and Mexico may be a option for a re-location later down the road.

      MLB cannot wait years and years to bring a team in Montreal. The TV market is huge, the investors are ready with money and the stadium financing process will be initiated soon (or publicly discussed soon).

      An expansion process will take at least 2-3 years. And it is clear that Manfred is more open to start an expansion than relocating a team. But he can't start an expansion and then find other cities if relocation is required.

      So that's why the next few months will be critical (IMOHO) to resolve the situation (for the Rays) or start looking at Plan B.

    8. Agreed. I do think the time to strike is now, given the renewed interest in Canada, and the strong showing the Montreal has had in the exhibition games. As you said, the expansion process will take 2-3 years, and in that time, Montreal can finally get a baseball only facility. It's exciting to see how support from levels of government, the private sector, former major leaguers, and grassroots fan campaigns have brought a concept that was laughable in 2006, to the front runner for the next MLB franchise. Perhaps if everyone were more united down in Tampa Bay, instead of squabbling between cities and counties, the future of the Rays franchise would be more clear.

    9. Best thing about anonymous comments: no accountability.
      "Not as absurd as you may think. The deal is done in my opinion."
      Because anonymous opinions are soooo valuable.

    10. You claim to be a journalist, yet fail to report obvious facts. Please Noah, spare us your sermon on accountability.

    11. I agree... Know-it-all Noah calls himself a journalist yet reports nothing - regurgitating from what is already in newspapers and citing his own blog as sources of information is best he does. Having said that, I give him kudos for maintaining this site and the comments section.

  5. Mayor Rick Kriseman will meet with the Rays today - and will be told that the latest proposal is unacceptable. The Rays will continue to stagnate on all fronts in 2016 still playing at the Trop and will continue to look to find a way out altogether.

    Meanwhile, MLB will continue to say one thing publicly like they have all along while behind the scenes preparing an exit strategy.

    Montreal's Mayor Coderre will also continue his behind the scenes preparation.

    Unlike the events that were announced today in Toronto, nothing will really be made public re the Rays until after the World Series (and watch for MLB being not too happy with TO today for breaking the news before the end of the WS)!

    1. I agree, Manfred will not be happy to see that Toronto and AA stole the thunder, especially when AA is named MLB Executive of the year!

      Now, all baseball medias can start speculating on AA future instead of talking about the World Series.

    2. Not sure that AA is worthy of Executive of the Year although he will be in contention. He mortgaged the future of the team for rentals and while the team made it to the post-season, and the team generated a lot of excitement for their fans, he's effectively killed the farm. Nevertheless, I'd still want him to be part of the Neo-Expos whenever that may be....

    3. Having said that, I see that AA was announced as Sporting News 2015 Major League Baseball executive of the year! Congrats to him.

    4. AA was named MLB Executive of the year just before he meets the press to explain his decision to leave the Jays.

  6. GO RAYS!! Hope they stay in Tampa. Have been a fan for years.

    1. Watching them on TV doesn't make you a "fan" - it makes you a moocher

  7. Nats Park -

    AT&T Park -

    Busch Stadium -

    Coors Field -

    Fenway Park -

    Petco Park -

    Target Field -

    NYC teams -

    ... and those are just some of MLB's stadiums that have good progressive impact for their cities, not including football, etc.. Though it's a shame that there's parks built like the Marlins in hard to develop area's (or like Raymond James), and then digressives rage against dumb owners decision to build where it wouldn't work, like many stadiums built in the 60s & 70s out in the country, ie the Islanders, Fl Panthers, ect..
    Like real estate says, location, location...
    Channelside will make this list of ballparks that help spur great economic growth while RAISE real state values...

    1. One big difference - none of those teams were DEAD last in attendance or with such apathy amongst their fans like the Rays

    2. To Tom:

    3. Seems that 75 000 households for the Rays is plenty of fans watching TV (based on what is said in the article).

      Just to put that "plenty" word in perspective, in Montreal, CFL team (Alouettes) is getting 250 000 viewers per game (for Canadian football team) in french only.

      And from our point of view, 250 000 viewers is a fair number (not high, not low) when compared to IMFC games (100 000 average, in french only again) which have a low number of viewers in our perspective.

      And I will not detail the Blue Jays ratings and the World Series ratings, 75 000 number for the Rays will look even worse that what it is right now.

      So from my point-of-view, 75 000 is not an indication that the fan base is important and that a new stadium will "spur great economic growth".

      If it's the case, we should have at least 2 MLB teams in Montreal and probably 2-3 more in Toronto plus few more in the west and one in the maritimes!

  8. Why no Rays fans commenting? Oh yeah, there's a hockey game tonight. No wait, it's a Thursday night! Must be the traffic...

    1. You answered your own question... there are NO Rays fans commenting because there are NO Rays fans.

  9. If I were King, anon comments wouldn't be allowed. IIWK