Ten years ago, the idea of a Major League Baseball team in Orlando was whispered, but rarely did anybody take it seriously. Sure the team would be able to draw from the tourists, but it would be difficult to build a core fanbase, and outside of Disney, there wasn’t much of a corporate base.
But now, that may be changing.
In a recent column for TampaBay.com, Robert Trigaux writes about Orlando’s emergence as a major player in Florida’s economy…
Plenty, it seems. Orlando is cultivating businesses faster and smarter than Florida’s other metro areas. Consider this recent Reuters story: “Orlando is leading Florida out of recession and expanding so briskly the city best known for theme parks is poised to push aside Miami as the state’s fastest growing metropolis for at least a generation”…Orlando alone generated 23,000 jobs in the year ending in February of the 50,000 jobs created in Florida.
So, if you are Stuart Sternberg and you feel that St. Pete won’t build you a new stadium and you have decided to move the team. Is Tampa still your first choice, or do you keep driving up I-4 and take the Rays all the way to Orlando?
And even if Sternberg is still intent on keeping the Rays in the Bay Area, if Orlando business leaders come calling and offer you a new stadium with a retractable roof, don’t you at least have to at least listen?