To sum up: If everything broke right, a new Rays stadium might bring in enough money for the team to turn a profit on it, barely. The only way for the Rays to get a windfall, then, would be to have the public pay for it — and even then (since they’d lose their stadium deduction), about a third of the new revenue would get siphoned off by MLB revenue sharing. So taxpayers are effectively being asked to foot the bill for $30 million in annual stadium subsidies, so that the Rays can get maybe $20-30 million more a year in net revenues.
In even simpler words: The Rays wouldn’t make money on the stadium. They’d make money on the subsidy. And that, in a nutshell, is what’s driving the new-stadium game: not obsolete stadiums, but the desire for public cash.
We have no idea how close the numbers in the article are to reality. But if the math is even in the neighborhood, the suggestion is that the Rays would actually turn a profit if they footed the entire bill for the stadium. But it would not be very much. No, if the Rays want to really cash in on a new stadium, they need the subsidy. And if the taxpayers do pay up, a percentage of their money must be kicked up to MLB’s revenue sharing program.
And the rich get richer.