Of course, "soon" is a relative term since the real PR blitz may be nearly a decade away, as the team's lease at Raymond James Stadium runs through 2027. But it can take a decade for the seeds of a new stadium to blossom...so why not plant them now?
We can see the early stages of the leveraging as the Bucs jockey for leverage with the taxpayer-funded Tampa Sports Authority, regarding terms of their stadium renovations. What should have been a simple "taxpayers pay $26 million; we'll pay the rest" discussion has broken down over the team's out-of-the-blue request to play multiple regular-season games in another city (or country).
In fact, I reported in October how the county asked the Bucs about extending their lease at Raymond James Stadium past 2027 in exchange for some of their requested contract & renovation concessions, but the team said it "was not interested at this time."
If the heavy-handed arm-twisting and relocation threatmongering in San Diego, Oakland, and St. Louis is any indication, Tampa Bay fans can expect the league to threaten relocating the Bucs in the late 2020's if plans aren't underway for a new stadium by the middle of the decade.
And as valuable as cities like Los Angeles and London may be as NFL markets; they're potentially even more valuable as stalking horses for other cities to use as relocation leverage.
Of course, Tampa Bay baseball fans already know all about being used as a pawn to help other cities get new taxpayer-funded stadiums...
The stadium blueprint also explains why team owners ultimately insist on stadium deals where they control stadium profits, but taxpayers technically own the facility. Neil deMause explains:
Not only would they have to pay their own property taxes then, but they wouldn’t have expiring leases to hold over the heads of local officials. Or have the local news media hold over officials’ heads — it’s so much more convenient that way.
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