That means the team seems to want to fund a smaller portion of a new stadium than they were in 2008, when they offered up the same $150 million for a less-expensive stadium in St. Pete. Adjusted for inflation, their 2017 opening bid is actually 13% less money than they were willing to spend ten years ago.
Longtime columnist Joe Henderson asked if Sternberg was joking. And one Pinellas County Commissioner reacted this way:
the biggest problem in the Rays' Stadium Saga. But we can draw a few conclusions from Sternberg's comments:
1) The funding gap is ENORMOUS; and maybe bigger than even this blog thought
Commissioner Ken Hagan has repeatedly said there would "never again be a sweatheart deal" like the one the Glazers got at Raymond James Stadium. Except, as this video shows, the Rays' stadium is likely to be WAY more expensive, even when adjusting the Buccaneers' 1998 haul for inflation:
2) Sternberg knows $650 million isn't happening
So why did he hit everyone with the sticker shock of $650 million this week?
Either because it's the next step in Sternberg's exit plan, finally coming clean that not even a new ballpark means significant new revenue unless someone else pays for it (as this blog has written dozens of times)...
And/or he's setting public expectations high - and his initial offering low - so that coughing up $350-400 million in public money later may seem like a deal. It's a topic this blog covered in 2016:
This way, the Rays are now perfectly set up to "settle" sometime down the road for a fixed-roof stadium at a much lower overall cost...once the public has committed its chunk of the cash.But Sternberg knows there is no appetite to fund major subsidies for a new stadium in Tampa: not on Hillsborough's county commission, where four of seven commissioners have already spoken out against any tax funding for a stadium; not in Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's office, where he just had to fight for a controversial tax increase to pay for basic city services and wastewater upgrades; and not in the statehouse, where several bills aim at banning all sorts of stadium subsidies and the biggest proponent of stadium investment, State Sen. Jack Latvala, is sitting on the sidelines as allegations of sexual misconduct play out.
We should end the conversation about a retractable roof right now. The Marlins' don't use theirs, the region can't afford one, and the technology has come a long way since the Rays' last stadium foray in 2008.
So what does Sternberg do with that? Well, a savvy negotiator creates leverage. And he's doing his best.
Sternberg is well-aware there are at least 14 different types of public subsidies the Rays could target to subsidize a new home.
3) Transparency from Rays??
Sternberg said the $150 million figure was based on the team's estimated revenues from a new stadium - something he told me five years ago the Rays don't do.
So, I guess now in 2017, the team all of a sudden knows what kind of ballpark they want to build and generally what kind of revenues it can expect from it? Does that mean the Rays will finally be a little more forthcoming about financial issues?
Because three years ago...
If Sternberg was serious about only contributing $150 million, at least he's being honest (although I'm not convinced). Because so far, the only real money talk we've heard from the Rays and MLB is how taxpayers had better start coughing up money.Prez Auld paused when asked what #Rays will do to prevent a "Miami Marlins situation" in Tampa Bay - said they'll be nothing but transparent— Shadow of Stadium (@StadiumShadow) December 9, 2014
Transparency has not been a priority here, and little has changed since I said this 12 months ago:
We know from the Marlins' new stadium that a new park, even in the wrong place, will increase a franchise's value by hundreds of millions. So c'mon Stu, show us the money.
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