(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:
- He campaigned in 2010 on "no public dollars" for a Rays stadium, only to later advocate taxes go toward a new Rays stadium;
- He claimed the 2017 BCS championship game was going to bring 1,700+ jobs to Tampa Bay, only to later walk the comments back.
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?
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