Friday, February 9, 2018

What the Hell Just Happened? Rays' Ybor Press Conference News Pt. 1

So the Rays' Friday "news" that they want to play in Ybor City was actually very little news, and much more dog-and-pony show, aimed at building support from the business well as an appetite for public spending from taxpayers.

But if you were hoping for more details on what a stadium would look like, when it might get done, or how the heck anyone would pay for it, you're out of luck. 

The elected and community leaders running the press conference didn't really address financing, and when I asked the point man for the negotiations, Hillsborough Commissioner Ken Hagan, he sprinted out the back door.

Video posted to Twitter, or check out my 5pm report on WTSP here:

Elsewhere in town, the immediate coverage romanticized how great a new Ybor stadium could be, and the Times' editorial board heralded the day as a "significant achievement."   Business leaders Ron Christaldi and Chuck Sykes penned an op-ed celebrating the "regional approach", even though I'm pretty sure Hillsborough and Pinellas never worked a day together on trying to keep the Rays. 

But then there was Times columnist John Romano, handicapping the chances of an Ybor stadium happening at just 36%.  His reasoning: money.

The only guy who seemed willing to talk about financing was Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who said "7 or 8" different funding streams may be necessary to help get the public financing done on a new stadium.  And since he said MLB teams try to "extort" cities, if the Rays get too greedy, Tampa will have to just "let them walk."  I didn't get the feeling he and Hagan weren't yet BFFs again.

By the way, here's my link for the 14 different ways Hillsborough Co. could lean on tax dollars to fund a new Rays stadium.

Finally for tonight, St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman is right - if the Rays don't get what they want in Tampa, there's a good chance they come right back to St. Pete, where hundreds of millions in public financing is already waiting for them.

I'll post more about what Stu Sternberg & others said.....over the weekend.

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1 comment:

  1. Please read:
    "Grade F: The Math Simply Fails for a Stadium Relocation" posted at