Tuesday, December 29, 2015

2015 in Review: Another Lost Year in Rays' Stadium Saga

2015 may go down as another lost year in the Rays' stadium saga, but baseball fans - especially in Tampa - are hoping it will be the last lost year as the franchise inches closer to finally buying a window out of its seemingly-ironclad contract with St. Petersburg.

Fall city council elections appear to have finally given St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman the five votes he needs to pass a year-old compromise that allows the Rays to explore stadium sites outside city limits in other parts of Pinellas County, as well as in Hillsborough County, where Tampa Bay's center of population lies.

The agreement, which could be approved by St. Petersburg's new council in early January, would essentially allow the Rays to leave Tropicana Field prior to the expiration of their previously-agreed-upon contract in 2027, but only for a new stadium in Pinellas or Hillsborough counties. If they leave St. Pete, the Rays would owe the city about $2 million per year - a figure that has been poorly reported and is also significantly less than other teams have paid to break their stadium contracts...as well as a fraction of what the Times once suggested the Rays should pay.

2015 also brought us other headlines, such as confusion about the team's TV contract (which we now think was quietly extended by a few years) and ramifications from the Bucs' stadium subsidy grab in Hillsborough County.

And a few other notable developments in 2015:
Cheers to the new year and see you in 2016!

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

Friday, December 25, 2015

POLL: Little Consensus on Where Tampa Bay Should Put New Rays Stadium - or if it Should Even Bother

Exclusive polling by 10News WTSP and the Tampa Bay Times reveals 60% of respondents said they had significant cares about keeping the team long-term. But 39% had "little" or "no" cares about keeping the Rays in Tampa Bay.

Six-hundred fifty individuals across Tampa Bay were interviewed for the poll via landline and cell phone earlier this month, with a 4% margin of error.

Of the 60% of respondents who said they said they cared significantly about keeping the team in Tampa Bay, 40% said they cared "a lot" while 20% said they cared "somewhat." Also, 12% of respondents said they cared only "a little" about keeping the team, while 27% said they didn't care at all.

More Pinellas residents said they cared about keeping the Rays than Hillsborough residents. In Hillsborough, 32% of respondents said they cared "a lot" about keeping the Rays, while 31% said they "didn't care at all."

When asked where a new stadium - if constructed - should go, 25% of respondents said at the current site in Downtown St. Pete; 25% said near the Tampa Fairgrounds; 18% said Mid-Pinellas/Gateway; 13% said Downtown Tampa; and 6% said Tampa's Westshore district.

Read more from 10News WTSP or the full poll results from the Tampa Bay Times.

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

Monday, December 21, 2015

Miami Beach Bowl May Prove Costly for USF's Athletics Budget

The USF Athletics Department was thrilled to accept their first bowl bid in five years...but they may pay for it.

Because today's Miami Beach Bowl requires each participating school to sell 7,400 tickets each, USF and Western Kentucky must pay out-of-pocket to buy empty seats they cannot unload themselves.  And it looks like they may have paid a lot:
When I reached out to USF just before they took off (by bus) to Miami last week, they had only sold 4,700 of their 7,400 tickets.  That included the 500 that head coach Willie Taggart bought for students at the $20 discounted rate.

The school had hoped to sell more tickets right up until game time, but they didn't yet know what the "break-even" point would be after all their expenses from traveling to Miami Beach were totaled.  A spokesman said the school had hoped to break even financially.

Thank goodness USF wasn't traveling to the Boise Bowl; the bowl landscape is littered with teams that spend more on travel and unused tickets than they receive in royalties.

And USF has enough budget problems of its own.  Its annual operating deficit has only grown as the mid-major program tries to compete with the NCAA's "big boys."  A potential new stadium would add tens of millions of debt.  And USF just extended the contract of head football coach Taggart to include about a million dollars a year more for him and his assistant coaches...plus a country club membership, two SUVs, and a luxury box at all USF home games at Raymond James Stadium.

Just don't ask what USF athletes are getting paid.

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

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Bucs Break Silence After Getting Final Stadium Renovation Sign-Off

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers secured their third board approval in as many days, finalizing plans for their $90-million public/private renovation deal at Raymond James Stadium. All but one Tampa city councilmember approved the deal, just as Hillsborough County commissioners did on Wednesday and the Tampa Sports Authority (TSA) did on Tuesday.

"We may not like that public dollars were used to build (Raymond James Stadium)," said Tampa City Councilman Mike Suarez, "But this will save us money in the long run."

Several councilmembers praised county negotiators, who scored several small financial concessions from the team in exchange for allowing them to play preseason "home" games away from Raymond James Stadium. They also refused to give in to the Buccaneers' request to reduce the number of regular-season home games they're required to play in Tampa.

MORE: What exactly is in the Bucs/Hillsborough deal?

The Bucs are committing to spend at least $59 million on top of the $29 million from the county's tourist taxes. However, the team will retain the large majority of new revenues from the upgrades and it is also seeking $12 million from the state.

Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford, who declined public comment during the year-long negotiation process, told reporters he was excited the team can move forward with construction plans and it will be a win-win-win for the team, taxpayers, and fans alike.

"At the end of the day, it was a true partnership," Ford said. "There were some obligations (by the county) that needed to take place and we wanted to enhance those improvements."

Ford dismissed the team's request for a second regular-season home game away from Raymond James Stadium as "sensationalized."

"The facts are that this is a very positive project and we're all going to reap the benefits from it...I hope today is a celebration for everyone in Tampa and the Hillsborough community and we're looking forward to getting this project underway."

MORE: Why pro teams need your money to remove seats

When asked why the team wouldn't consider extending its lease past its current 2027 end date, Ford said it's too soon to consider such a thing.

"At this point, we're only midway into the contract and it's not really the time that we felt (to extend)...I would hope that the end-result of this ($100 million project)...and the $9 million that we put (into the stadium) at the start of the 2014 season is a clear indication of our commitment to the city and the county."

Ford added fans of non-sporting events such as concerts and truck events will benefit from the upgraded video boards, concessions, and club seats too.

The lone dissenting vote came from veteran councilmember Charlie Miranda, who donned an all-black suit with black shirt and black tie, just as he did countless time in the mid-1990s during Buccaneers' stadium public financing debates

"Not even Donald Trump...would do this deal like this, because it's a bad deal," said Miranda during an entertaining 10-minute-long rant. "It is not about the sport; it's about the revenue at that stadium that you pay for and (the Bucs) take the revenue.

"It's time this county - not (just) Tampa - understands that you're getting robbed; not with a gun, but with a pen."
MORE: Bucs may be back in 10 years looking for new stadium again

With the final approval, the Bucs are expected to break ground on the renovations in January and have half of the construction - including the video boards - complete by the start of the 2016 football season.

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

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

This Week in the Bucs Stadium Saga

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' plan to split costs with taxpayers on their $90-$100 million stadium renovations (designed to net the team new revenue) got by the first of three hurdles today as the county-sponsored Tampa Sports Authority board approved the deal its staff struck, 10-to-1

But tougher challenges await as the deal needs approval from the Hillsborough Co. commission & Tampa city council on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. 

Sticking points, as previously reported on this blog, could be the team's refusal to extend its lease, additional preseason "home" games they'll be able to play in other cities, and $3 million in extra money the Bucs got the county to throw in to make their new giant scoreboards even giant-er.

The good news for taxpayers is that the county stands to gain a little money on those non-NFL events the Bucs currently keep the majority of profits from, as the revenue splits will shift a little bit in the taxpayers' favor:
The TSA estimate is nearly identical to the $149,000 estimate published on this site but quite a bit off of Commissioner Hagan's rosy $250,000 estimate repeated to several news outlets.

Hagan, the deal's biggest proponent on both the TSA board and the Hillsborough County commission, also said the public will make money because they typically lose money on the tens of thousands of fans who attend preseason games (!?!).  Read about the contradictions in that statement here.

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

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Food for Thought: Why are Stadium Contracts Different Than Other Business Contracts?

If Stu Sternberg don't like the Rays' current TV deal, why doesn't he just ask FOX Sports to let the team explore alternative options (only in the local market, of course) so they stand a better chance at landing big-name players and keeping baseball successful in Tampa Bay for "generations to come?"

Oh, and while I've got my tongue firmly planted in-cheek, maybe the Rays can also politely ask James Loney to let them out of the $8 million-a-year deal the team agreed to in 2014?

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

Getting to the Bottom of What Stu Sternberg Really Said This Week in Nashville

Because Neil deMaus & Field of Schemes do such a good job breaking down why nobody should feel bad for the Rays owners, I'm going to let him explain this week's surprising comments from Stu Sternberg regarding the team's television contract:
As for what happened here, we can only speculate, but it looks like the 2016 figure goes back to a 2010 report from Sports Business Daily, which said (as cited in the Tampa Bay Times) that “after the Rays renewed their contract with Fox Sports Florida in 2008, they are now locked in until 2016.” So maybe there were some option years at the end of the deal? Or maybe SBD got it wrong? (Though stuff like TV deals is usually their bread-and-butter.) Or Sternberg decided at some point to extend the Fox deal for his own unscrutable reasons, and didn’t tell anyone until now? Who knows!
A Rays spokesperson tells me the team isn't free to disclose its contractual terms and they can't comment on when the deal is up any further than what Sternberg has already said.

Meanwhile, deMaus continues:
The bigger question, to my mind, is why Sternberg is crying poor in a public forum at this particular moment. It could be:
  1. To distract fans from the fact that his team hasn’t acquired any good new players in eons, and this winter doesn’t look to be any different.
  2. An early shot across the bow of MLB in advance of next winter’s collective bargaining agreement renegotiation, in hopes of getting increased revenue sharing money for teams in small markets with crappy TV deals and whiny owners.
  3. Attempted leverage with St. Petersburg officials to show that he neeeeeeds a new stadium (you knew I’d get around to stadiums eventually, right?), and so they should hurry up and approve that lease buyout deal already.
Or all of the above! In any case, all this talk about bicycles and tanks (which, as Craig Calcaterra notes, ignores the facts that 1) Sternberg knew what team he was getting when he bought it, 2) the Rays are still making money regardless, and 3) the franchise has more than quadrupled in value in the 11 years Sternberg has owned it) isn’t going to help the Rays sell any tickets.
It's a return to the "woe is us; we are poor" talking points the Rays had buried for a while...since, well, they aren't poor and nobody in Tampa Bay should believe that they are.

MLB is richer than it's ever been before and they're able to pay players more than they ever have before.  This is largely in part to the fact that local taxpayers are paying more of their expenses than ever before.

Once again, this is your reminder that if Sternberg or any other MLB owner has a problem with the profits they're generating in Tampa Bay, they should first look to themselves...for it's a problem they created themselves.

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

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Public Service Announcement Regarding Rays' New Stadium

For all you baseball fans in Hillsborough County hoping for a new Rays stadium, just remember that every land owner with a few acres of dirt thinks he/she has the perfect new stadium location.

But the biggest impediment to a new stadium in Tampa isn't land; it's financing

Yet, for all the folks speculating about potential new sites for a Rays stadium, nobody - including Rays owner Stu Sternberg - wants to talk about how Hillsborough County might somehow pay for a new stadium.

This should be part of the conversation right now, however; financing remains the single-biggest reason the Rays won't be moving to Tampa anytime soon.  The county is tapped out with no new revenues in sight.  Just ask the folks trying to patch the county's broken roadways.

Unless I'm wrong and a politician like Hillsborough Co. Commissioner/stadium cheerleader/transportation advocate Ken Hagan was quietly thinking of lumping stadium construction in with transportation expansion

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

Monday, December 7, 2015

Why the Rays' Stadium Campaigning - and Stalling on TV Negotiations - May Cost Them Millions

The Tampa Bay Rays are going to make a lot of money when they finally renegotiate their television contract after next season

The team could have started enjoying some of those new revenues years ago had they just signed an extension with their television partners the same way they did with Evan Longoria.  But because a bundle of new money doesn't exactly help the their stadium campaign, the Rays have waited.

However, according to a fascinating read in The Daily Beast, if the Rays wait too long, they could cost themselves a lot of money.  An excerpt:
Your favorite sports team is massively overvalued right now. It’s not that you ought to be losing sleep over Jerry Jones’s or Mark Cuban’s finances—they were rich before and will be rich after. But the popping and cracking noises emanating from the key support beam in our Temple of Athletics—the TV sports business—foreshadow wild disruptions ahead for the world of sports.

Like the
barking dogs that sense an earth tremor before we do, ESPN’s annus horribilis is a harbinger of the Internet’s coming disintermediation of America’s half-trillion dollar sports industry. Just since mid-summer, the Disney-owned 800-pound linebacker of sports TV announced falling subscriber counts and weak ad revenues that led to a devastating media stock price rout. The network has elected to let some of its highest-profile talent go, has announced a round of significant rank-and-file layoffs, and then last month shuttered its prestigious Grantland.com sports journalism site.

Then, last week, ESPN’s SEC filing revealed a bombshell: The company had lost 7 million subscribers over the last two years.
The resulting fearsome sports arms race now is estimated by longtime cable TV and sports industry executive Leo Hindery to cost each cable household $35 to $40 per month. And, again, that’s whether those households watch sports or not.
The article then cites a stat you'll want to underline - according to a study of sports rights fees by accounting firm PWC, TV revenues will overtake game tickets as the largest source of revenue for sports franchises by 2018.
[T]hat sports bubble is about to pop.

The transparency, direct access, and choice that consumers have come to love in the “over-the-top” world of Netflix and Hulu is the mortal enemy of the cable industry.

There’s no easy fix for the networks. One possible solution for Disney—selling ESPN as a separate stand-alone or “over-the-top” service—holds potentially disastrous economics, with one Wall Street analyst suggesting that to maintain its current margins, ESPN alone would have to sell for more than $36 per month. That pricing would cause a death spiral for the network, if the survey data is accurate. The math simply doesn’t work.

Business, of course, only allows for mathematical impossibilities for so long before clunking the enterprise loudly to earth. So ESPN, the very nexus of celebrity sportscasters and athletes, the coolest network on the planet for true fans and the funder of franchise owner private jets across the nation, is in a budget-cutting frenzy. As are, rest assured, its competitors.
Every participant in the sports economy—franchise owners, athletes, programming networks, cable companies, and even the fans themselves—have benefitted from this broadband version of the hide-the-ball trick. That big fat $100 average household cable bill that everyone pays has served as a siphoning conduit of cash forcibly flowing from fan and uninterested non-fan alike.

The brazen economics of modern sports are being revealed and dismantled by the Internet, and the coming fumble-pile of desperate industry participants should make for some great viewing. That’ll be bad news for
$30 million-a-year over-the-hill third basemen, the greater fools who pay them, and the unknowingly subsidized superfans who love them.
If the Rays don't wind up getting the huge television deal they've been banking on, they'll have no one to blame but their own business office, which has chosen not to strike a new deal until the final year of their current deal.

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

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Hillsborough Stadium Cheerleader Says County Loses Money When Teams Play Games in Stadiums

With neither the Tampa Sports Authority (TSA) nor the Buccaneers talking publicly about their expensive-but-still-somewhat-secretive renovation plans yesterday, Hillsborough County's stadium cheerleader-in-chief Ken Hagan handled the majority of the press interviews...and made some baffling comments about the team's new ability to play preseason "home" games in other cities or countries {link to Times' site}:
(Commissioner) Hagan said under the terms of the lease agreement, taxpayers actually save money when the Bucs don't play homes games in Tampa, and losing those preseason games won't hurt advertising and other revenues. 
So Hagan, who has argued that pro sporting events bring such great economic benefits that the county should help the Rays build a new baseball stadium, is now saying Hillsborough County loses money when the Bucs play home games!!?!

And since the county also loses money maintaining a building when there aren't games being played in it...is Hagan basically saying publicly-subsidized stadiums are a money pit?

To be fair, preseason games don't draw the same kind of crowds as regular-season games...but the majority of tickets are sold.  And advertisers do pay extra for preseason games.  And the stadium-related jobs politicians love to tout are filled on preseason game days too.

Also to be fair, Hagan has a history of flip-flopping on claims he's made:
Adding insult to injury, Hagan's guilty of bad math again, suggesting the TSA's take on non-Buccaneers profits will climb by "$200,000 to $250,000 a year."  But he's wrong.

The Bucs still keep the first $2 million of all profits from non-Buccaneers events (helluva deal, considering the county - not the team - owns the stadium), but they'll now give the TSA 67% of additional profits above that mark instead of the previous 50/50 split.

However, using this year as an example, the TSA is expected to generate $3 million in non-Buccaneers profits at the stadium, meaning $2.5 million for the Bucs and $500,000 for the county.  Under the new rules, the county would keep $666,667 of that money, an increase of just $166,667.  That's less than the $200,000 to $250,000 a year Hagan repeatedly quoted.

In fact, since 2010, Raymond James Stadium has only averaged $2.9 million of annual profit, meaning the TSA/Hillsborough County averaged $451,000 a year from non-Buccaneers events.  The new split will net the county $600,000 on $2.9 million of annual profit - a gain of just $149,000.

Hagan is no stranger to controversial comments: he recently claimed he is allowed to delete his government-related text messages that state law considers public records; he also said the Rays could mimic the Braves' somewhat shady behind-the-scenes stadium dealings

So what's the big deal about a little fuzzy math here or there?

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

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

What Exactly Was the Renovation Deal the Bucs & Hillsborough Agreed To?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have put the finishing touches on a deal with Hillsborough County that could bring up to $100 million of renovations to Raymond James Stadium. The project will include new HD video boards, sound and concession improvements, and an overhaul of luxury suites.

The Tampa Sports Authority (TSA), the county-funded agency in charge of the stadium, ultimately rejected the team's demand for a second regular-season game abroad, conceding a number of preseason games instead.

Currently, the Bucs can play one regular season home game each year away from Raymond James Stadium, but starting in 2018, they will be able to play one regular season home game as well as one preseason home game away from Tampa. They can also play both preseason home games in 2016 and 2017 elsewhere if they choose.

The TSA will also kick in $3 million more - $29 million in total - of public money to help the team with renovations. The plan, still subject to county and city approval, originally called for $26 million in coming from Hillsborough County taxpayers. The Bucs are committing to spend at least $58 million of their own money - and potentially upwards of $70 million.

Meanwhile, the team is also seeking state dollars - approximately $12 million over the next 12 years, through the end of their lease at Raymond James Stadium - to help pay part of their portion of the renovations, although it may be a difficult sell to the current legislature. The state already pays $2 million per year to subsidize the original construction bonds on the stadium.

The Bucs rejected efforts by the county to extend their lease in exchange for some of the county-paid renovations. Some speculated the team was trying to leverage more games in London toward the end of their contract.

ALSO READ: Why the Bucs - Just Like the Rays - May Soon Be Seeking a New Stadium

“This is a great day for our entire community as we work toward an agreement that ensures Raymond James Stadium will remain one of the top sports facilities in the country,” said Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford in a prepared statement. “The proposed agreement will provide the type of much-needed enhancements that will improve the in-game experience for our loyal Buccaneer fans and will play a key role in our ability to attract the types of large-scale events that we have grown accustomed to hosting over the years. These exciting projects have been made possible through the hard work and foresight of all parties, including public officials from the TSA, Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa.”

The first phase of renovations will take place between January 2016 and August 2016, including the installation of new HD video boards in each end zone, four HD tower video displays in each corner of the lower bowl, and HD ribbon boards in the center ring of the suite level. The proposed new end zone boards will measure 9,600 square feet each, while each tower display will measure 2,304 square feet for a total video display area of 28,416 square feet—the third-largest in the NFL.

The second phase of renovations, expected to take place between January 2017's college football championship game and the start of the Buccaneers' 2017 season, will include an extensive renovation of the east and west club lounges, expansions of the general concourses, and construction of a team store.


The Bucs didn't return requests for comment Wednesday and haven't said what additional "enhancements" they plan on making. But in its official press release, the team indicated it would boost the overall cost of renovations by another $10+ million.

The Bucs also haven't indicated if the renovations will affect seating capacity in the stadium, but a TSA spokesperson said it was unlikely to change much. It is unknown if ticket prices will climb in a similar fashion to how they have in other NFL stadiums post-renovation.

ALSO READ: Why pro teams need your money to remove seats

The Bucs made some concessions to the county as well, agreeing to a slight reduction in their take from non-football events. Currently, the team keeps the first $2 million each year in profits from non-football events at the county-owned stadium as well as 50% of all profits after the $2 million threshold is met. The team's take will now be reduced to 1/3 of all profits after the $2 million threshold is met.

“The proposed improvements would be a huge win for our community, as fans will be provided an enhanced event experience and Tampa will be uniquely positioned to host future world class events at Raymond James Stadium,” said Tampa Sports Authority President/CEO Eric Hart in a prepared statement. “I would like to thank the administrations of both Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa, along with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for their efforts in developing this innovative plan.”

The agreement will go to the TSA Board of Directors on December 15th for approval, followed by the Hillsborough County Commission the following day, December 16th, and the Tampa City Council on December 17th.

ALSO READ: Latest developments in Rays' stadium saga

“It is critically important to me that any renovation agreement save taxpayers money and dramatically improve the fan experience," said Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan, who also sits on the TSA board. "Not only will this agreement accomplish this but the state-of-the-art amenities will also allow our community to aggressively compete for future world class events.”

Future Super Bowls are a common lure for stadium subsidies, but Tampa may be waiting its turn to host a game for a while.

Tampa has lost out on recent Super Bowl bids to cities with newer stadiums, and it again joins New Orleans, Atlanta, and Miami as finalists for both the 2019 and 2020 Super Bowls. However, Atlanta's new stadium is considered the front-runner for 2019's game, and Miami's $400 million stadium renovations could help it lock up the 2020 game.

"Raymond James Stadium is a very integral part of (the bid)," said Rob Higgins, executive director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission, the private non-profit corporation putting together Tampa's presentation to the NFL. "The fact that The Sports Authority and the Buccaneers are doing such a great job making sure that (the stadium) is the best that it can possibly be is phenomenal for our bid."

Higgins will make the city's pitch to NFL owners later this month, although the final votes on the 2019 and 2020 Super Bowls won't come until next spring. The 2020 bid process could also get disrupted by a possible Los Angeles bid if the city can convince one of three teams - the San Diego Chargers, the St. Louis Rams, or the Oakland Raiders - to relocate and build a new stadium.

Then again, it might not be a bad thing to miss out on another Super Bowl according to these folks...

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Atlanta Braves' Move to Cobb Co. - Everything That's Wrong with Taxpayer-Subsidized Stadiums

How many ways could taxpayers get screwed with the Braves' new stadium? 

Oh, let us count the ways:
  1. Metro-Atlanta taxpayers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars replacing a stadium that didn't need replacing.
  2. The deal was done secretly, without giving taxpayers a say in how hundreds of millions of their tax dollars are spent.
  3. The public's responsibility on the project seems to keep growing, with nobody having any real idea of how much it will ultimately cost.  The price is now up to $350 million or $400 million, depending how you count...and it may still be growing.
  4. The team is moving baseball out of urban core - which just a couple years ago, everyone seemed to think was a new MLB prerequisite - into a suburb with transportation issues of its own.
  5. Just as the city paid off its Turner Field mortgage after decades of investment, its equity in the building is about to plummet to zero.  What's the value in an empty stadium?
  6. Think Cobb Co. could incentivize and stimulate a few small or high-tech businesses with $350 million?  Instead, they'll spend that money on a bunch of retail businesses that basically cannibalize sales and (low-paying) jobs from other parts of Metro-Atlanta.
But other than that, Cobb. Co. residents are getting a great deal from the looks of it!  So much so that Tampa's biggest stadium cheerleader already has declared himself a fan of how the deal went down.

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