Saturday, February 6, 2016

The One Thing Missing From Yesterday's Rays Conversation in Tampa

It was no coincidence the Rays released their list of stadium-search critieria Thursday night, on the eve of their first official meeting with Hillsborough County officials; the document set the tone for Friday morning's meeting.

According to the Times, the parties stuck to script and spent a few hours reviewing what the document means for the team's search moving forward.  By all reports, it was a productive conversation about building a truly iconic new ballpark that revolutionizes the stadium experience, much as Camden Yards did nearly 25 years ago.

But the conversation reportedly did not include how to finance a new stadium. The Rays' dictated the agenda and VP Melanie Lenz was quoted as saying, "It's really hard to talk about financing a project that we don't know what it's going to look like and we don't know where it's going to be."

Well, I disagreed:
We've all searched for a new home or apartment, right? Or a car? Or a boat?

Isn't "what's my budget" one of the very first things you discuss?

Except, the Rays don't want it to be. As the Times' editorial board writes this morning, "this is the fun part." This is the part where the team sells a grand vision with lots of pretty pictures.

It's also the part where the team hopes the region forgets $300M subsidizing a pro sports team may not be the best use of its tax dollars.

The editorial makes some good points, and it's worth a read, but we still haven't seen the board echo it's call for the Rays to open their books - and actually demonstrate a fininancial need - since they once did in 2011.

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  2. Per
    "The new stadium will need to cater to the different way fans now view the game, which is likely to include bars and galleries where fans can congregate while still in sight of the action, and more use of technology. The days of fans sitting isolated in vast seating sections is over, the document states."

    Sounds like then, the days of fans closely watching the game are over as well, which is good because the Ray's payroll in the new stadium isn't going to be any higher than it is now. So the expectation appears to be to fill the stadium with affluent milennials who really don't care much about baseball but will be happy to spend $100 for dinner and drinks at the ballyard vs. $50 at a restaurant.
    Sounds like a winner to me.

    1. Yes, but hopefully you recognize that the new stadium's only previous owner was..... James Bond!