A story by Stephen Nohgren of TampaBay.com includes the results of a recent telephone survey of Pinellas and Hillsborough County residents that suggests Hillsborough County residents prefer Tropicana Field over potential locations for a new stadium in Tampa. However, there are problems with the way in which the survey was conducted that likely skewed the results.

The poll appears to have asked the residents where the Rays should play in the future with Tropicana Field listed along with other locations in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. Of those asked, 28% of Hillsborough County residents said they want the Rays to stay at The Trop and only 16% of those in Hillsborough want the team in downtown Tampa.

Nohlgren concludes that “even among Hillsborough residents, the Trop remains the favored site.” However, this is misleading.

The problem with this method of questioning is that “Trop versus New location” and “Downtown Tampa versus Other new locations” are two completely different issues. If only 28% want the team to remain in The Trop, that means 72% believe the team should move to a new location. Even 58% of Pinellas residents prefer a new location over remaining at The Trop.

And if we assume those polled were evenly split among Hillsborough and Pinellas county, that means 65% of residents picked a new location over remaining at Tropicana Field. That is an overwhelming number considering not all of those asked were baseball fans.

The poll should have asked two separate questions including: 1) Do you think the Rays should remain in Tropicana Field for the foreseeable future? and 2) If the Rays do move, which of these locations do you prefer?

The first question is about funding and who should have to pay for the stadium, while the second question is about what is most convenient or will draw the most fans.

In the end, the first question is virtually meaningless as the Rays want to move, and will find a way. And responses to the second question should have been limited to baseball fans as non-baseball fans will likely pick locations based on how it affects them as opposed to how successful the location might be for the team and the area.

Either way, it is clear that Tropicana Field is not the preferred location for the Rays, despite what the story wants you to believe.

 
 

18 Comments

  1. don says:

    Disputing facts and figures of a poll is usually a game played by politicians, but Ok…so from the information provide just Exactly Who DOES want a baseball stadium downtown tampa??? Not hillsborough co. Tax payers, not people driving to/from work,maybe downtown drug dealers, S tampa hookers…..OR
    The guys who wanted to build an open air stadium in downtown ST. Pete…those guys? WHO?

  2. Sledge says:

    If you remove the funding question as a part of the equation, clearly downtown Tampa is going to get the most votes. I had to laugh at the way someone constructed that poll to get their desired result. I guess you should expect as much from a newspaper.

    There will be a contingent of non-baseball fans who work in Pinellas but live in Hills and will hate the added traffic at the time of their work commute. And then anyone with personal financial incentives or significantly shorter drives might vote for the other locations. But otherwise, downtown Tampa just makes too much sense. Especially when coupled with the Riverwalk\downtown revitalization efforts ongoing.

    If only there was some kind of financial package that would make sense to Stu\Vinik\whomever to make a privately funded stadium work. That would leave only the Foster problem, which just feels like it would be infinitely easier to solve if it were the only problem.

  3. Edward says:

    Ok. Those people who did the survey better be going to the games. If you like it in St. Pete, then go to the game

    • Nick says:

      I do go to the games and I pay to go over the SkyWay with out complaining. Why can’t people in Tampa make it over a free bridge to a game with out complaining? If the stadium was moved to downtown Tampa I would have to let my season tickets go. There is not enough time to get out of work and make it downtown with the traffic. If a new stadium must be in Hillsbourough I vote for a site near 75 and 4.

  4. ed says:

    I was wondering, has anybody ever thought of having the trop over by the hard rock casino. I guess the fairgrounds, i personally don’t have a problem with the trop , it only takes me 30 min to get there and it really isn’t that bad, but , i understand the owners want a new stadium which would bring more money, that is totally understandable, but if they want a new stadium than they should pay for it. I voted for the bucs stadium and seen how hills. got screwed. But i also don’t want to lose baseball in this area. God i am so confused, lol , anyway hope everybody had a great christmas.

  5. Dave L says:

    That poll is irrelevant and useless and misleading.

    If I am trying to decide where to put my liquor store. I want to know the opinions of “People who do or potentially could be persuaded to buy liquor” but thats not everybody some people are going to see my liquor store as only a thing that creates traffic, is kinda sleazy etc. but the hell with their opinion they arent buying my product, they aren’t my potential market.

    The people should have been qualified in terms of being first asked. “Have you ever bought a ticket to or would you ever consider buying a ticket to a professional baseball game?”

    If they answer NO, they would be in a completely different category. The relevant opinions are only from those people who answered YES.

    Then you have to weigh the YES group which is likely a minority against the NO group who consist of most people.

    • don says:

      You are not going to build a liquor store(and get a license) in any neighborhood, or city in which Most of the citizens don’t want you, and throw in their financial support to build your store, forget it your dead on arrival…why should a baseball (business) be any different?

      • Dave L says:

        Thats precisely why I used the liquor store analogy as opposed to say a hardware store as it has its detractors as building publicly funded stadium anywhere does as well in 2012.

  6. Sarah says:

    Since the TBT didn’t actually report which questions were asked or how their sample was chosen, we don’t really know how to interpret these findings. Poorly done all around, and honestly I expect better from this newspaper.

    Also, the problem with polling people about their preferred stadium location is that most people want the stadium in a location that is convenient to them, personally. So determining a location through polling data is a huge waste of everyone’s time. It’s like determining a tax policy by saying, OK, who wants to pay taxes?

  7. Gus says:

    Cork: The story and the headline on the poll were poorly drafted, but the pool definitely confirms the discussions I’ve had over the holidays in the Bay Area with family and friends. There is absolutely ZERO political will to finance a new stadium when (a) they have a lease and (b) no perfect site will solve the team’s attendance woes. Everybody knows this. Everybody recognizes that a new stadium isn’t close. The running out of time stuff is a bunch of garbage. Even Tampa people noted that Friedman and Silverman both living on Snell Isle is a sign that nothing is in the immediate future. They’ll be at the Trop through the end of the decade, for better or for worse.

  8. Miguel Grande says:

    I prefer the air conditioned stadium in St Pete.

    In this failed economy with 41% unemployment nationwide, I don’t think we need a new $Trillion stadium.

  9. don says:

    Here is a statement that drives Fans, Media Types, and Rays executives/owners crazy:
    “The stadium (tropicana field) and its location(St. Petesburg) has very little to do with the current attendance problems the
    Rays have”..probably #10 on a long list of problems….
    But it recieves 90+% of the attention….that in itself is part of the problem….Now go figure

    • Beazy says:

      LOL, didn’t I make this same argument in the “12 days of Raysmas” a day before this article was wrote about location? So now that Cork says it, now you agree that survey was skewed (thanks for backing me up Cork!)…
      Look bottom line is the Trop is one of most unique places to ever watch a Major League ballgame at, but it’s basically a tent surrounded by water, and is close to a 50 mi. round trip from Tampa. The area between downtown Tampa and Channelside is about to see it’s plants start growing from the seeds that been planted. And, after they move Con Agra Foods moves, the Rays are moving in. It’s been a done deal while left to speculate about what we don’t know YET. County taxpayers paying for it? Nope, the “investment” will come from other sources of new tax revenue. Traffic? not as much as the only option of either going north or south on i275, opposed to having 3 different highways within a mile of Channelside. Worth it? to have another 81 days of world class entertainment downtown playing in work-of-art, hell yah!

      • don says:

        Good luck, Hope your young and not concerned with realism….
        you might live that long…to see a successful baseball business in downtown Tampa

      • Brent says:

        If Beazy is right, could we finally start talking about what it would take financially to build a stadium at Channel side? Like the cost to the county, how long it will take for the county to start making a profit, can Stu get Vinink with others to put more in the pot to bare more of the burden, what about saving money on building the stadium with a canvas retractable roof opposed to a 200k medal one, and can they maybe save by bringing stuff like the jumbotron seats office equipment outfield wall foul polls, etc. from the Trop there, like when you a person moves into a new house, they normally fill it w/ the same stuff from there old house?

        • don says:

          You could bring Home Plate, (the Rays don’t use it) that alone could save Stuie $12.95

          • Brent says:

            What about the idea of added tax revenue from hotels and rental cars in Hillsborough, and if were right and the Rays could save by using a canvas-like roof, and stuff from the Trop, the Rays kick-in a lil’ more, etc., aren’t we finally helping close the financial gap through better ideas opposed to just saying “it wouldn’t work”? Also, give or take using county funded taxes, I find it hard to believe Hillsborough county wouldn’t profit immensely with an extra 10k-15k more or so people coming to downtown Tampa from places like Pasco, Polk, Citrus, Marion, Orange co., etc., 81 days a year for the next 100 years, sending at least $20-$100 a person each time (not including spending on dinner, gas, cigarettes, etc. in the county), NOT including playoffs, a All-Star game or 2, other events other then baseball games, and times that people would come to Channelside just to come hang out at the other places like the Aquarium because they went to a game once and seen other stuff to do other days. Besides, maybe I’m misreading things, but if it wasn’t “profitable”, wouldn’t St. Pete be trying to give up the Rays, and Tampa wouldn’t be trying to get’em, OR would there even be Major League baseball(?), or maybe yinz haven’t done enough research, and just want to repeat what everyone else is saying?!
            Beazy

  10. Brent says:

    Well, OK, now where saving money the “Rays Way”! lol

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