Saturday, January 9, 2016

Five Pieces of Perspective on Newest Rays Deal

Yesterday we heard from mayors Rick Kriseman & Bob Buckhorn about their latest takes on the Rays' stadium campaign & St. Pete's expected approval of the newest MOU on Thursday.  But, much like the last eight years of the Stadium Saga, there were no major developments to report.

However, we can always learn something by reading between the lines:

1. Buckhorn on the Stadium Saga timeline
When St. Pete gives the Rays permission to talk new stadium sites in Pinellas & Hillsborough next Thursday, the floodgates will open for anyone looking to sell their dog track, parking lot, or flea market.  But Mayor Bob Buckhorn told me yesterday fans shouldn't expect the process to move too quickly:

2. A "transformative" project
Kriseman's confidence in the "transformative" value of redeveloping the Trop speaks to the well-documented advantages of multi-use development versus a simple retail business (MLB) taking up large swaths of valuable land.

3. A "transformative" project (Part II)
Even though Kriseman talks about incorporating a new Rays stadium into new Trop redevelopment plans, his comments seem to indicate that St. Pete's "selling low" on its contract equity is all about removing baseball from the equation.  Why?  Because there's nothing that's prohibited the city from redeveloping the majority of the Trop's footprint previously.  The Rays have actually had financial incentive to help the city redevelop for years, as they retain half the redevelopment revenues for as long as they're at the Trop. 

4. The timeline coincides with political calendars...
...and it's probably not coincidental.  Kriseman's MOU states the Rays must make a decision on their future - in writing - by January 2019.  That should ensure the issue doesn't play prominently when Kriseman and several of his council allies run for re-election in Nov. 2017.

5. Of course, another Times editorial...
...and as predicted, the Times' stadium cheerleading board called it "improved" and urged its' passing. It also tipped its cap to the Rays for not lowering the ~$2M/yr payouts originally offered several years ago, even though the board said "the team could have sought lower payments since another year has ticked off the lease."

However, this blog has dispelled that concept, as the team's offer has basically been the same for six years...all while St. Pete has enjoyed an additional 800+ games at the Trop (with 10,000,000 attendees).  So no, the Times has never been correct when it's claimed time and time again that St. Pete was losing leverage by holding firm on its expectations for compensation.

Then again, we once read in the Times the city should expect a nine-figure payout if the Rays were to leave the Trop early, so buyer beware when you read about the Stadium Saga.

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  1. "No longer would the cost of a new stadium, which could reach $500 million, have to be covered only by public money and money from the Rays. The deal would enable the city to start working with developers on a plan for the Trop site that could include a new stadium, and the developers could kick in part of the stadium cost."

    Oh really? So, it's basically "pay to play" for developers. They are expected to give a contribution over and above their own development costs in order to "fund" a stadium for the Rays? Oh that will be successful.

    1. Yeah, that doesn't happen all that often.

    2. I see the developers lining up to pay for a stadium for someone else already.

  2. The negativity from this blog is mind blowing. No matter what happens - the Rays, elected officials, newspapers, MLB, and anyone else not agreeing with Noah's angle - are all in cahoots to screw over the taxpayers.
    If the mention of public funding comes up - "the economic value to a City is nothing! Look at these studies! Cities are better off without pro teams!"
    When Rays agree to pay millions to potentially break the lease - "It's not enough money! Other pro teams have paid more to break leases!"
    Short of the Rays leaving town and taking the Bucs & Lightning with them, I doubt anything will make Shadow of The Stadium happy.

    1. I partially agree with your statement.

      On one hand, the Rays are recognized as having an economic impact and bringing wealth to the community. This is a positive thing and the community it is important leverage that economic impact.

      On the other hand, wise spending of public money is also important considering the priorities of the local governments.

      In Florida, you've got Loria, which is probably the worst example of a MLB owner negotiating with city/state representatives. And having such story/events in your backyard is big enough to ask more questions than required.

      In French we say "chat échaudé craint l'eau froide": once burned, twice shy. I usually say in project management: "I will ask you 2-3 questions. If the answers make sens and I feel you have the control of the situation, I will let you go. However, if the answers does not make sense or I feel that you don't master the topic, I have 347 more questions for you. And you better be ready to answer them."

      So I think it's important to look at both sides and without being supportive of all initiatives, it's important to avoid seeing conspiracy and bad behaviours all the time.

      The main issue with medias (not only in TB, we have the same problems in Montreal or elsewhere) is that lots of journalists, owners of public tribune and medias are saying/writing things that are false, that only cover part of the the truth or the facts.

      This is not only sports related, it's spread everywhere. Finance, technology, political, ... name it.

      My point of view is that we better be more doubtful in the analysis of the information than always thinking that the information is true and we don't need to verify anything.

    2. It's not about making sos "happy", it's about them NOT understanding the bigger picture that positively impacts a community more then the city's investment...

    3. MLB is a 9-billion dollar business that will extract every last available penny it can from communities that may not have enough cash to fund roads (Hillsborough), police (Cincinnati), or schools (Atlanta). To the anonymous commenter, the Rays are paying the tiniest fraction of their annual profits to break a contract they agreed to. It might wind up working for Tampa Bay...but the team will never open its books to show they have an actual need. This blog aims to provide perspective and push for transparency.

    4. I agree, Pat:

      "My point of view is that we better be more doubtful in the analysis of the information than always thinking that the information is true and we don't need to verify anything."

    5. Newsflash, the cities rather have control over stadiums in desirable areas, and have a liquid asset when investing $$$ for financial backup. Which are some good reasons not explained by this blog which lead to questioning the one-sided opinions...

    6. What city has really done well using a stadium as a liquid asset? And please don't suggest Pontiac, MI.

  3. Mexico will have an MLB team before Montreal. The chances of Montreal getting a team are a slim as the French ever finding courage to stand up for what's right in life.

    1. New year, new developments, same pointless drivel.

  4. "Mexico will have an MLB team before Montreal." ....Tell that to Trump