Yesterday’s meeting between owner Stuart Sternberg and St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster was supposed to be a big moment in the progress towards a new stadium. While nobody expected any major developments, it was just good that the two sides finally decided to sit down and talk about the subject. But did they?
Based on the report by Michael Sasso of the Tampa Tribune, it doesn’t sound like the two sides discussed the stadium situation at all…
Sternberg said the two sides didn’t discuss potential locations for a future stadium and there was no talk of how the Rays might buy out their contract to play at Tropicana Field…Much of the discussion focused on how the city might help the team with marketing and improving upon home attendance in 2011 that was next to last, Sternberg said.
This is a huge problem.
While it is good that the two sides are discussing ways to improve attendance, this is something the two sides should be doing anyway. And it shouldn’t require the owner of the team and the mayor of the city. This is something the Rays marketing department, and members of the mayor’s staff should be able to handle.
And what does this say about the bigger issue of building a new stadium? If it requires a once-a-year meeting between the Mayor and the owner to sit down and discuss something as basic as selling tickets for the upcoming season, when exactly are the two sides going to talk about the stadium?
Yesterday’s meeting wasn’t expected to solve the stadium issue. But it was supposed to raise our hopes. Instead, we may have less confidence in a deal ever getting done. And that is scary.