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.

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  1. Oh, I guess their still planning to "build a new stadium" soon? lol

  2. ""because it's a bad deal," said Miranda", says the person that offers no legit reason why, sounds like those of this blog...

  3. Either or, all they're doing is putting the money back in their pockets w/ the values of the stadium & the team increase while NOW having good new bait to attract BIG events that will pump the pockets of our businesses and their employees & county tax revenues...

  4. What really sad is that the Bucs & county officials are bad at explaining the positive facts for our community from things like this which leaves the door open for negativity from people like blog.
    Maybe I'm just a better salesmen, lol...

    1. What a dope!!! lol!!!

    2. Sad? How? They got their free stadium and free upgrades.

  5. Hoah, you state:
    "However, the team will retain the large majority of new revenues from the upgrades and it is also seeking $12 million from the state."

    What new revenues are the Bucs getting?

  6. Higher ticket prices, Scott:

    1. Nice spin NOah, more then half of the seats at SunLife will be the same or drop, which the Jags done as well. As for the increased priced seats, well, you get an increased experience, which only makes sense...

      " said Wednesday that prices for 56 percent of seats in the stadium are staying flat. He said 14 percent of seats will be going down in price. That means more than 45,000 seats will either stay flat or drop in price."

      And, even with an increase of ticket prices for SOME, they're STILL going to be cheaper then most NFL games...

    2. The Miami Dolphins, seeking $90 million from state taxpayers over the next 30 years, acknowledges they draw fans from all over the world to major events like the Super Bowl, BCS Championship, and Orange Bowl. But they're seeking the money as part of a renovation project that would remove 10,000 seats.

      Their application indicates the team would help make up for the lower attendance with a 10% hike in ticket prices, plus "significant price increases in areas with new clubs."

    3. Yah, but a 10% mean a 10% for all the tickets or even 1/2, and removing 10k seats means nothing, a lot stadiums are doing the same to create more social areas like they did in Jax or the Trop then added group spots. Some might not believe it, but a lot of people go stadiums just to party, and don't even seat in a seat nor watch the game. -10k less seats doesn't necessarily mean -10k less attendees, they can sell "standing only" tickets which are becoming more popular...
      And nice 1 sided article you wrote w/ a picture of Busch stadium w/ a caption that says Miami, lol, the should of been titled, getting 1/2 "the answers for YOU"...

    4. Nobody is selling 10k standing-room tickets. And nobody believes a team when they claim they will draw more visitors to Florida by removing seats and charging more.

    5. Well played, though a 10yr+ Super Bowl drought seems to of got their attention...

    6. But, spots like the Papa Johns box & 162 Landing @ the Trop & Cabanas @ EverBank fills areas of old unfilled seats...

    7. When capacity drops by 5k, capacity drops by 5k. It's not adding 5k standing-room.

  7. Higher ticket prices for Bucs games might be a very hard sell if the quality of the team does not improve. For the first 7 home games of this 2015 NFL season, he Bucs have averaged 61,249 paid attendance and 53,853 actual attendance - average no-shows of 7,396 per game. So there is a substantial number of folks that don't feel they are getting their money's worth - to the point that they don't even go to the games. I doubt that these disenchanted fans will pay even more money not to go to games.