Blue Jays get $60m in spring-training subsidies, mayor sobs “I could not be more proud”

The Toronto Blue Jays owners have been trying to get public subsidies for renovations to their spring-training facility in Dunedin for a couple of years now, and it looks like they’ve finally hit the jackpot, with Pinellas County agreeing to kick in $41.7 million in hotel taxes to go along with $5.6 million from the city and $13.6 million from the state:

The unanimous vote by the County Commission was enough to bring Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski to tears.

“I could not be more proud,” Bujalski said Tuesday. “We have a huge quality of life here and no one thing makes our quality of life. It’s a combination of things. Spring training is part of that.”

I mean, sure! I would never have heard of Dunedin if the Jays didn’t play there in the spring, so there’s clearly some benefit to having the team in town one month out of the year. It is almost certainly not $60.9 million worth — previous studies trying to show that it would be ended up double- and sextuple-counting spring training visitors in terms of their economic impact — but it’s definitely part of a combination of things. And the county also gives hotel-tax money to things like the Clearwater aquarium and public sports complexes and the Blue Jays are going to let high school teams use their stadium some and hey, get off their case, okay? If “the government throws tax money at all kinds of things, might as well throw it at one more that benefits one of the most profitable sports leagues on the planet” isn’t a reason to be brought to tears, I don’t know what is.


13 comments on “Blue Jays get $60m in spring-training subsidies, mayor sobs “I could not be more proud”

  1. Now that Dunedin has been poached, time to work on Toronto.
    https://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/mlb/mlb-commissioner-rob-manfred-says-rogers-centre-needs-update/

      • For a few years now the Jays have been floating the idea that their roof is functionally obsolete. That ice falling off the CN tower might be just the thing they needed.

  2. Neil,
    Regarding your statement:
    “I mean, sure! I would never have heard of Dunedin if the Jays didn’t play there in the spring, so there’s clearly some benefit to having the team in town one month out of the year.”

    So now that you have ‘heard’ of Dunedin, are you going to visit it?

          • Oh, crap, it actually exists: https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/mindcoin/

          • That’s hilarious. Your site is a lot like jaywalking, I can’t believe politicians are this stupid…except that you post proof in the links.

      • I don’t think most places get benefits from regular people thinking about them, but I assume they do when you do Neil. If not, please do not ruin my belief system.

  3. Acutal quote from a Dunedin business leader: “As we draw more people to the area, once they visit Dunedin, they’ll say ‘Okay, what’s next!\'” That makes for a great slogan–Come to Dunedin (what’s next!).

    Dunedin already covered the craft beer gap with other cities and now they have covered the minor league stadium gap! Okay what’s next.

    • What’s next is where will the many hundreds of children, adults (and dogs) who use the Vanech Recreation Complex can play/exercise once the Jays have taken that over and rebuilt it.
      https://www.google.com/maps/place/Vanech+Recreation+Complex+Playground/@28.0337527,-82.7608912,792m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x88c2f23e63e299bf:0xb462912409395ca7!8m2!3d28.0337527!4d-82.7586972
      The writing is a little rough, but makes the point about MLB & franchises squashing locals yet again…
      http://www.rocketsports-ent.com/dunedin-citizens-getting-checks-from-the-blue-jays/
      http://www.rocketsports-ent.com/the-other-side-of-sports-too-the-did-you-know-part-3-of/
      Not a peep about replacement fields at Cedar Creek Highlander Park, beauty eh?

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