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: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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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