St. Petersburg mayor said near deal for buyout of Rays’ “don’t even think about stadiums elsewhere” clause

“People who have talked recently” with St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman say that he is hopeful of reaching an agreement with Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg on a deal to allow Sternberg to talk to other local cities and counties about building a new stadium there. That’s current verboten under the terms of the Rays’ lease, but Kriseman has apparently decided that everything has its price:

[St. Petersburg council chair Bill] Dudley, who meets with the mayor weekly, said one critical element would be monetary compensation for the city if the Rays leave for Hillsborough before 2027, when their contract to play at Tropicana Field expires.

“I don’t know what the number is,” Dudley said, but added that city lawyers are working on contractual language “to protect our interests.”

That’s actually reasonable enough — as I’ve noted before, making the Rays stadium situation Hillsborough County’s problem, while getting some cash out of the deal (during negotiations with former mayor Bill Foster in 2013, Sternberg reportedly offered $2-3 million per year, or approximately one Jose Molina) and potentially freeing up the Tropicana Field site for redevelopment wouldn’t be the worst outcome for St. Petersburg. Of course, Foster tried this too and got nowhere, but supposedly Kriseman is close enough to a deal that he thinks he can present one to the council by year’s end, which is something. Then all the Rays and Hillsborough need to do is find $400 million in unmarked bills lying around somewhere, and they’re home free!

Share this post:

9 comments on “St. Petersburg mayor said near deal for buyout of Rays’ “don’t even think about stadiums elsewhere” clause

  1. $400 million sounds low for building a new stadium several years out. Target Field, which opened in 2010 cost $545 million. The Marlins palace, which opened in 2012, cost $650 million. Citi Field, which opened in 2009 cost $900 million. Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009 cost $1.5 billion. Nationals Park, which opend in 2008 cost $693 million.

    Is the Rays park going to be built out of paper mache?

  2. No, $400 million is the gap remaining after the Rays kick in their share. Click through on the link for details.

  3. My BAD for not clicking through. So it looks like their is a squishy $200 million presumed to be put up by the Rays – that would get the total expected cost to $600 million – still pretty optimistically low.

  4. They’d probably be building a stadium with under 40,000 seats, so it’s not crazy low. But yeah, $400 million is the minimum they need to find under the sofa cushions, not the maximum.

  5. I still hope they wind up in Orlando. Tampa Bay is oversaturated with 3 teams while Orlando is the 1st or 2nd largest metro area with just one team. Seems like a perfect transition.

  6. Credit to Kriseman if he can get something out of the Rays in exchange for allowing them out of their contractual obligation. I’m not holding my breath for the Rays to cough up, however.

    ‘Freeing up’ the Trop site isn’t really a benefit to the city so long as they are still paying (?) for it and the building still stands there. The stadium was built for MLB (in fact, wasn’t it planned for the Giants originally? Or was that the White Sox… so many extortion attempts, so few team names…) and thus one would expect that any settlement deal to allow the local club out should at least pay off any remaining stadium or related debt (Demo costs? yeah, I know, but maybe the next developer… nahhhh…)

  7. The Trop was built to get an expansion team in the round that created Miami and Denver. They lost out and then tried to lure the Twins, the Giants, the White Sox, the Rangers, and Seattle Mariners at various times since you know they had a stadium ready to go.

    The loss of the Giants though due to the MLB putting the kibosh on it is what forced the city’s hand to sue MLB. MLB created the Rays before the case could go to court so the city would drop the suit since it put the MLB in a real bind.

  8. If they didn’t have the contract until 2027, they could have easily threatened to move to Montreal. It looks like something is brewing north of the border http://www.tsn.ca/report-bell-among-group-of-investors-interested-in-bringing-mlb-team-to-montreal-1.127919

  9. Per that La Presse article, via Google Translate:

    “Reportedly, Stephen Bronfman, Bell, Mitch Garber and Larry Rossy is the number of members who have demonstrated an interest in private to be part of the ownership group of a major Montreal team baseball, a team event becomes available and the financing (buying a team and build a stadium in downtown) is satisfactory.”

    That’s a pretty big “in the event that.”

Comments are closed.