I write today's headline with my tongue firmly planted in-cheek, but seriously: just because the Rays refused to compensate St. Petersburg for the final year they'd ditch out on their Tropicana Field contract doesn't mean the contract all of a sudden now expires in 2026.
Remember, if the Rays leave St. Pete at the start of 2020 as some have speculated, there would still be EIGHT seasons left on the deal they signed; not SEVEN, as most of my Tampa Bay media counterparts seem to believe (I'm not naming names because I like all of you).
For that reason, the counteroffer the city just sent the Rays for the right to explore stadium sites in Hillsborough County would be worth $37 million if the team is gone by 2020, not the $33 million figure that's been repeated infinite times in the last few weeks. That's $4 million for each of the eight seasons the team leaves early, plus a one-time $5 million redevelopment fee.
Did my counterparts fail to read the documents? Or just do the math involved? I first explained this two weeks ago, but apparently it needs repeating.
READ: The math on St. Pete's three proposed Rays plans
So Kennedy's plan, which serves as the new high-water-mark in negotiations, would still only cost the Rays an average of $4.6 million per year. For those of you counting at home, that's less than they paid David DeJesus or Grant Balfour in 2015.
The deal, just rejected by the Rays, also seems to be an incredible bargain that seems to give them exactly what they've been begging for since 2010: the right to look at stadium sites in Hillsborough County.
That $4.6 million per year is a fraction of the $6.7 million per year ($9M/yr in 2015 dollars) the Lions paid to Pontiac for leaving the Silverdome four years early....
It's a fraction of the $22.5 million per year ($25M/yr in 2015 dollars) the Sonics paid to leave Seattle two years early...
And it's a fraction of the $19 million per year ($20.5M/yr in 2015 dollars) the Tampa Bay Times once suggested the Rays should pay for the right to end its Trop contract early.
Maybe the Rays don't want to explore stadium sites in Hillsborough County all that badly?
Bottom line for my media counterparts: read the documents. Do the math. And while we're at it, the Rays don't have a "lease"; they have a "use agreement."
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