- Batting leadoff: you saw me tweet about the latest donations to State Senator/gubernatorial hopeful Jack Latvala, including the Tampa Bay Rays & Miami Dolphins.
- Why do pro teams love Latvala? In addition to his attempts to provide them stadium subsidies, he's also the biggest thing standing in the way of a House push to ban public land giveaways for new stadiums in Florida. A bill attempting to ban the practice raced through the House committee stage already and will likely get approved by the chamber in January. But approval by the Senate or governor is much less likely.
- Meanwhile, locally, despite all the talk that St. Pete and Tampa are working together on things like landing Amazon's HQ2, they continue to play tug-of-war against each other on a new home for the Rays.
- In fact, here's another good article about how the two sides of the Bay are competing over another sports team. It's from 2010. And nothing's really changed since then.
- Remember, the more subsidy-friendly officials that compete over the Rays, the more the team stands to benefit from a tug-of-war. Which may explain why Rick Kriseman's PAC just got another $50k from the Rays, bringing his 2017 campaign haul to over $80k.
- Speaking of mayors, the Tampa Bay Business Journal (subscription required) spoke to Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn about his Rays' stadium conversations, with the mayor seemingly distant from his once-aggressive push to bring the team downtown. TBBJ reports six years into his term, the mayor still doesn't know how to pay for a new Rays stadium, other than possibly the county's CIT tax, which could be renewed (via referendum)...but the funds are spoken for through 2026, and an extension may also be needed for Bucs & Lightning stadiums by the time those leases expire in 2027.
- And finally, Forbes' Maury Brown reports TV ratings remain strong across MLB, including here in Tampa Bay, where the Rays remained the No. 1 cable program in the market, even though they slipped 5% from last year's viewership numbers. They were only 18th in the league, by ratings points, but they averaged 52,000 viewers per night, according to Neilson. There should still be good money in a new cable deal for the Rays, but it seems they chose to gamble with a short extension with Fox Sports several years ago. If they missed the cable rights bubble, and get screwed because of their timing, it will be because of a failed business risk and not the failure of their fans to tune in.
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