It has now been more than a year since Stuart Sternberg gave his “I have a dream of someday playing in Tampa” speech. And in the twelve months since, there has been nothing but negative reports and more bickering between the Rays and St. Pete and between Tampa and St. Pete.

And in that constantly negative atmosphere, Rays fans will take any news that even resembles good news.

So it is exciting to hear that the Tampa and St. Pete Chambers of Commerce are forming a stadium caucus.

There are some limitations. The two sides will not discuss locations for a potential baseball stadium. However, they will look into how the stadium can be financed.

“We’ve resigned ourselves to we really need a new stadium,” said Chuck Sykes, chairman of the Tampa chamber and co-chair of stadium caucus. “The question is how do you end up paying for this thing?”

It will be interesting to hear the reaction from St. Pete mayor Bill Foster, who has made it clear that he doesn’t want the city of Tampa involved in any discussion on a new Rays stadium.

And no matter what this caucus accomplishes, the Rays will still be tied to their contract with St. Pete. But this could resolve the next biggest hurdle: financing.

Baby steps. But hey, baby steps sure beats the heck out of what we have seen so far.

On a side note. Here is a report by 10 News that looks at a second group that is exploring stadium financing…

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5 Comments

  1. Gus says:

    History Lesson:

    The biggest revenue stream in play are the tourist taxes collected from hotel guests, 80% of which are beach visitors. The beach hotels for years have screamed that paying for a baseball stadium on the bayside of the Pinellas penisula is a misapplication of funds. An argument can be made that baseball is a perfect counter-season tourist draw (and constant pr for the area) that helps the beach hotels. That argument falls apart, however, in a Tampa stadium proposal (The Trop is 10 miles or less to southern beaches; a downtown stadium would be 30).

    So the connundrum to solve is that the revenue is better in Pinellas, but the location (arguably) is better in downtown Tampa, but they have spent their tax $ on other projects.

    To my knowledge, there has been one project in regional history that has shared governmental revenues -- the ill-fated Tampa Bay Water reservior. We don't have good history.

    Now go figure it out in the worst recession in 80 years. Knock yourselves out.

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  2. Sarah says:

    Gus, you are quite the wet blanket.

    Business leaders from both sides of the bay addressing this issue is many times better than political leaders from both sides of the bay fighting with eachother. This is good news.

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    • Gus says:

      The stadium in in the location it is for a reason. People can talk until they are blue in the face. But until they free up a revenue stream or MLB builds it privately, we'd be better off talking about Jake McGee.

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  3. Jon L. says:

    If they build a nice park, it will attract tourists like Camden Yards does in Baltimore.

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  4. Don says:

    If these businessman are so interested in building a new stadium..have each one of their Co's put up $100,000 mil plus Rays $200,000 MIL....
    THEN THEY HAVE $800,000 MIL to build a new stadium, problem solved!
    I'm a genius!
    PS: Then let me see them make any money in the baseball business..

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