Last night was the Tampa Bay Sports Commission’s “Sneaker Soiree” celebrating “excellence in sports business.” Among the attendees was Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg.

During a roundtable discussion, Sternberg was asked by the M.C. what he has learned about the Tampa Bay area that he didn’t know before he took over the Rays six years ago.

“Water is a big divide,” said Sternberg. After the rousing applause, Sternberg added “[and] the willingness of people to navigate bridges.”

Yikes. We love you Stu. But these are the people that you (or somebody else) is going to ask to pay for a stadium in the near future (maybe in Channelside). Making fun of their lack of desire to cross the Howard Frankenstein during rush hour is not going to win many votes during that inevitable referendum.

 
 

7 Comments

  1. Jeff says:

    What an idiot. From his own website: http://tampabay.rays.mlb.com/tb/sponsorship/demographics_index.jsp

    Hillsborough does more than its part. Will someone please post this on the front page or write an article using the info readily available from the Rays? The demographics are well balanced across the region. The problem is not that Rays fans won’t go or that any particular group won’t go, it’s that they can’t go as OFTEN as they’d like because of the stadium location. It’s like Wrigley Field being in the Chicago suburbs and the team wondering why they can’t sell out.

    • Derek says:

      What’s sad is the lack of support from Pinellas. 30% might seem like a large number, but it’s 30% of what? 15-18 thousand? It shows that the real support system is probably in Tampa, and if the stadium gets moved, that number will jump to 45% of 20-25 thousand.

      • Tone says:

        Why is it sad? People are either watching from home or they don’t give a crap. What’s really sad is the need to try and put the area down because people there don’t spend money where you and Stu want them to. He bought the team and knew what he was getting into. If he has issues with how things are turning out, then sell the team. Incessant whining and insults to the area accomplish nothing. It’s not like he was unaware of the lease when he signed on to buy the team. No one guaranteed Stu he would get a new stadium or that the people would come if the team won more than it lost. The dude is still making his cheddar, don’t shed any tears for him. Just baseball after all.

        • Derek says:

          I never said I agree with anything Stu said. I agree with you, actually. I’ve said it before too. He knew what he bought, I was just commenting on the link posted.

          But! He was asked a question, and although I didn’t listen it seems as if he was making a lighthearted joke. I wont shed a for him, but I also wont shed a tear for Pinellas when they lose their team, because the refuse to watch baseball unless they sit atop the standings.

  2. Bob says:

    If I read it right, almost half of the attendees are fifty or older? If that’s true, then perhaps current crowds consist of a relatively high percentage of retirees. Pricing and the ability to attend multiple games have to be inflexible for this group, particularly in these times. Interesting…..

  3. Don says:

    I would like to “take a shot” at stuie for treating the Rays just like another “profit center” business…
    I realize in your “real” business…the stock market you are used to making 50-100% PROFIT OR MORE…
    this business of baseball is not like that..if you can scrape out 5-10mil a year…whats wrong with that?..
    after all you have a “real” job… why keep trying to brow beat the public into spending $ at your hobby business?…ask Vince Nom. how that worked out

  4. Sarah says:

    In what other business do seek to grow your customer base by insulting them?

    i love the Rays; I think the current management is terrific, and I wish more people would attend more often. BUT it really rankles to constantly endure put downs by Sternberg. If you owned a restaurant and were unhappy that too few customers came even though your food was terrific, would you hold a press conference to make nasty remarks about your customer base?

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