Yesterday, Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn appeared on “Happy Hour with JP Peterson” on 1010 Sports. Obviously the big topic of conversation was the Rays and their future. Here are some of the more telling comments. You can listen to the entire interview below…

His position on a Rays stadium:

The Rays and the city of St. Pete are going to have to resolve their issues. There is a contract. There are ways out of contracts. And there are prices to be paid for breaking contracts…My personal opinion is that [the Rays] will [leave St. Pete]. I think the Rays have made it clear that that is not a stadium they want to play in. The numbers don’t work. This is a business…They’ve got to have numbers that work. If that divorce comes, or more specifically when it comes. This community has to decide if the Rays are a regional asset that we want to keep. And I firmly believer that we do…[The Rays] deserve our best effort to try and keep them here…I think downtown Tampa is the best location for [the Rays].

On the Rays future:

It is my belief that at some point the Rays will leave St. Petersburg…and I absolutely want to be ready that happens.

On what the Rays need to be successful:

We need to find a way as a region to help [the Rays] become successful…If there is going to be a new stadium. The model for success is largely corporate ticket sales and corporate suite sales. And the ratio that the Rays enjoy is completely upside-down by comparison to other cities. We need more corporate involvement. I need the business community to get involved in this.

On financing a new stadium:

In this economic environment, I think a vote (on financing a stadium) would fail miserably. I don’t think you’re ever going to see a deal like the Glazers got at Raymond James Stadium…The model these days seems to be significant owner money, and I underline significant, private equity money, as well as the local jurisdictions doing infrastructure around the stadium to assist.

On light rail servicing a new stadium:

It has to be in the formula somewhere.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn on Happy Hour

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6 Comments

  1. Neal says:

    Well, at least one of the Tampa Bay mayors is acting like an adult.

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  2. O.H. Holmes says:

    Tortious interference, also known as intentional interference with contractual relations, in the common law of tort, occurs when a person intentionally damages the plaintiff's contractual or other business relationships. This tort is broadly divided into two categories, one specific to contractual relationships (irrespective of whether they involve business), and the other specific to business relationships or activities (irrespective of whether they involve a contract).

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  3. rayalan says:

    This politician makes more sense than anything I have heard from any on this issue. This could happen with this kind of leadership. Too bad the mayor of St. Pete is being such a "dud" on this issue. No creativity whatsoever!

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  4. Don says:

    Bucky is a mouse...all talk (perfect politician) and NO action....Nothing will happen with him as Mayor with the Rays....watch.. at least Irio had the balls (probably) to say she wasn't interested!

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  5. Gus says:

    Since I've been the "wet blanket" here for months (years) saying a Tampa Stadium is impossible until the existing stadium deals pay off 15 years from now, I will translate the money quote from Buckhorn (in ALL CAPS):

    The model these days (ALL LOCAL GOVERNMENTS ARE ALL BROKE SINCE LEHMAN WENT DOWN IN 2008) seems to be significant owner money (MORE THAN STU BOUGHT THE TEAM FOR; ALL OF THE BRICKS AND MORTAR), and I underline significant (I AM REALLY NOT KIDDING; THE YANKEES, LIGHTNING AND BUCS HAVE LEFT US WITH NOTHING TO GIVE), private equity money (THIS MEANS NO GOVERNMENT MONEY FOR STADIUM CONSTRUCTION AT ALL; ONLY THE GIANTS HAVE DONE IT THIS WAY) , as well as the local jurisdictions doing infrastructure around the stadium to assist (I'LL GLADLY BUILD YOU THE BEST PARKING GARAGE IN THE WORLD IF THE RAYS BUILD A $500M STADIUM IN TAMPA WITH THEIR OWN $).

    Buckhorn is saying the same thing Foster is saying (basically we'd love to help, but we can't), only much more diplomatically. The downside is that is he is being inadvertantly (to him) used by Sternberg to lever his way out of the Tampa Bay area entirely, as that I know believe, is his entire long-term strategy.

    "There are ways out of contracts." (Buckhorn is not a lawyer, I'd note, but he's parroting Sternberg here). I challenge the readership here and the reporters at the local newspapers who read this blog to find any solvent team that walked out on a stadium lease. This type of posturing is common as leases come up, not 18 years out. To my knowledge, only the Indians have done it, walking out on Homestead after a Cat 5 demolished their stadium. It has otherwise never been done, short of filing bankruptcy, unless I'm totally missing something. But this is the legal case the Rays will bring, I believe. All of this is being done to soften up the court of public opinion. I don't think they can win it, but it will be catostrophic to the team and the area while it plays out.

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  6. Well said, Mayor Buckhorn, if only Mayor Foster wasn't the kid kicking and screaming "They're my team, they're my team. WAHH WAHH WAHH!"

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