The Tampa Sports Authority has signed off on the Buccaneers‘ request for $29 million toward stadium renovations (it was $26 million when the Bucs owners first requested it two months ago, but, um, inflation?), paving the way for $100 million in new scoreboards and luxury suites and all the other stuff that football team owners are convinced will get people off their sofas and into football stadiums. Under the agreement, the sports authority would also get a slightly larger cut of non-football revenues, and the Bucs would get to play an additional preseason home game outside of Tampa if they want.
The $29 million is up from the $26 million that Tampa was going to be on the hook for when this was first proposed, but given that the team’s lease requires the city to split costs on upgrades with the team, the Bucs owners argued that spending $29 million on $100 million in upgrades is better than spending $26 million on $52 million in upgrades. (It’s not, really, since the upgrades all benefit the Bucs, but that’s their argument.) In any event, whether you consider this a new subsidy or a continuation of the old one is a matter of perspective, but this is $29 million in extra cash flowing from city coffers.
Now all that’s left is for the plan to be approved by the Hillsborough County Commission (which votes today) and the Tampa city council (which votes Thursday) — and, perhaps, for the state to decide on whether to give the Bucs owners another $1 million a year in state subsidies — and then renovations can begin. You can bet that folks in the Cincinnati Bengals front office are watching this one closely.