Floodgates open, now everybody wants to talk stadium with Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays may be facing a potential lawsuit if they go ahead and meet with Hillsborough County about a new stadium, but otherwise the gambit is working out great: In the last 24 hours, the Pinellas County Commission voted to open its own talks with the Rays, and a private development firm asked to pitch a new stadium idea for the Gateway area to St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster in order to, as Fox 13 puts it, “squash any suggestion that Rays might move across the bay — or further.”

Not that this was necessarily the Rays scheme all along, to raise the possibility of a stadium in Tampa in order to jumpstart stadium talks on the other side of the bay that until now were in stasis thanks to St. Petersburg’s unbreakable lease. But if it works out that way, I don’t imagine they’ll be complaining.

4 comments on “Floodgates open, now everybody wants to talk stadium with Rays

  1. Sure seems like the Rays’ owners have their hearts set on a move across the bay.

    The bigger thing I’m noticing is that teams seem to be valuing location over a free stadium nowadays. It’s happening with the A’s, the Rays and even the Angels in their dalliance with AEG about moving to a better location in downtown L.A.

    I don’t know the Rays/A’s situations well enough to say that they’re in a similar situation to the Angels, but in L.A. I definitely believe that a free stadium in Anaheim would be worth less to the Angels than a stadium in downtown L.A. where they pay $30M/year in rent. For me and for the majority of my friends having a conveniently located stadium trumps all.

  2. Ben, using your $30m rent figure, the only way a club would willing take that option is if they are certain they can make more than that through new revenue streams and/or richer fans. They’d rather pay no rent in any location, but it’s really all about the (net) money generated.

    It could be that “downtown” LA could generate that much more than a new/revamped Anaheim stadium. Then again, the competition for entertainment and corporate dollars might be more fierce in such a location as well.

  3. The Dodgers peaked at $247m in revenue a couple of years ago, per Forbes; the Angels are currently at $226m. It’d be a pretty risky gamble to take on $30m a year in new expenses and hope that a move north would pay for it.

  4. If you were to draw a diagram showing population and income density by ZIP code of the Tampa Bay Region, you’d basically see that the current location of the Trop is on the outer edge of the densest areas or money and potential customers. There’s just no way around the fact that the stadium, to have the best chance of success, needs to be in the Carillon district in Pinellas County or somewhere in Tampa. I’m not saying that guarantees success. But where it is at now guarantees failure.

    Peace be with you.

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