Stephen Nohlgren sat down for a Q&A with Andrew Zimbalist, who is described as “one of America’s pre-eminent sports economists.” You can read the entire interview at TampaBay.com. But the most telling answer came when he was asked where a new stadium should be located…

“Downtown Tampa. It’s very important in today’s economics that stadiums be located as close to a business district as possible — particularly baseball, that can play six or 7 games a week. It enables the team to attract members of the business community to the stadium at the end of the work day and sell season tickets and premium seating…Fans are of a higher economic demographic, so signage and corporate sponsorship becomes more valuable. You can create synergies with other businesses. You might have a tax increment financing district or tax abatement for a vibrant entertainment district.”

So there you go. I have never thought the downtown area is perfect. But the Bay Area’s geography doesn’t allow for a perfect situation and downtown Tampa just seems to be the lesser of many evils. And I know many of you love the idea of the Fairgrounds and the Hard Rock Casino. But it is hard to believe Major League Baseball will allow a new stadium to be so closely associated with a casino. Just can’t see that happening.

Zimbalist also touches on how an agreement could be reached and what might happen if no agreement can be reached.

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11 Comments

  1. Brent says:

    Well, no duh! Whether the best spot or not, the ballpark is going to be built at Channelside...

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  2. Geoff Peterson says:

    I hope that when they build it they do it right and make it an iconic ballpark on the water like the park in San Francisco but with a retractable roof. Do it once, and do it right. How fun would it be to sit in a kayak and go after a home run ball.

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  3. Don says:

    Another "sports expert" commenting on something he knows absolutely nothing about...metropolitian Tampa...
    Did the interviewer ask him if he has ever been on I4,I75 or I275 in rush hour, has he ever been to one of the 80% of bucs home games with a half empty stadium, has he researched the economics of downtown Tampa, the population, what they do for entertainment......want me to go on....he knows nothing... but he is the expert on tampa(bay)...wanta bet..

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    • Rome says:

      Don, I am not an economist nor an expert. I am a businessman who works in sales. I have lived in the Tampa Bay area for 13 years and I am a supporter of everything in the area. I have been to been to sporting events and entertaiment events alike and I must say, sadly, tampa is the better choice.

      You have I-75, I-275, and I-4 rather than I-275, 175... and... what? I love going to the trop, I love driving to St. Pete. I love getting to St. Pete early and walking through Central and walking the mile or two the trop. I enjoy everything about the area.

      From a business standpoint, it's smarter to have a stadium in Tampa. Will the Rays sellout every game once they play in Tampa? I doubt it. Here in Tampa Bay, we are great at making excuses and getting behind a winner (see the bucs, lightning, storm, and bandits). However, a stadium in Tampa will attract a more consistant fan base.

      Two more points: 1, I don't get though why if the St.Pete area so bad for business, why would Stu and the front office want to build a staidum right where Progress Energy park is at? 2. There is a reason why the most the joyous part of a human being is inthe middle of the body and not at the foot; it's easier to access and serves and funtions with all around it.

      Just saying.

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      • LaneMeyer says:

        Don is talking out his posterior as usual. He conveniently forgets that before the economy crashed, the Bucs sold out for something like 13 consecutive seasons and the Glazers did not react quickly enough to the economic downturn to keep their fanbase while at the same time continuing to stick it to them in ticket prices, parking and concession fees before finally backing down in the last few years. The Lightning have had success in their building as well except for the short-lived Koules era which also coincided with the recession. The biggest negative for the Rays is not their stadium but a lack of corporate support. Blame it on whoever you'd like but the Rays sell 9,000 to 12,000 less season tickets to corporations than the average MLb team. I am tired of the regular fans taking the heat.

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    • Brent says:

      Dude might be a fluke, BUT "rush hour" is between 5-6pm not 6:30-7pm, the Bucs are poorly ran, and downtown Tampa's future is bright!

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    • trevo says:

      Right, because the Lightning have huge problems filling the arena.

      Avg Lightning home attendance in 2012 - 18,468 (13th overall)

      Avg Rays home attendance in 2012 - 19,255 (30th overall)

      And that's with a Rays team that had a legitimate shot at the playoffs all year, and a Lightning team 2 games above five hundred. Traffic has literally nothing to do with building a stadium downtown.

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  4. Miguel Grande says:

    Build the stadium and they will come. Someone should have an extra $billion hanging around. Of course they will have to buy out 10 years of the lease at Tropicana.

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  5. Dave L says:

    Certainly a 201X Stadium in Downtown Tampa would obviously be the best location and a newer building will hep anywhere. Anyone who denies it probably just selfish wants the stadium built closer for themselves. I live south of the Skyway so the current Trop is the best possible location for me. So unquestionably the attendance will be better but will that justify a new stadium for the taxpayers?

    Will jumping from 30th overall in attendance to say 25th be worth it? Anyone who thinks it will bring in a 50% jump is dreaming. The national media will still crap on us when we are drawing, say 22,000 per game.

    The key to a Downtown Tampa stadium is the corporate support. We all know its pathetic for the Trop much more pathetic than paid individual Joe Fan support.

    Any stadium proposal must be accompanied by a commitment by the Top 200 corporate/institutional entities of Tampa who openly promise to buying X number of Suites/Premium Seats/Blocks of Seats.

    Show me those numbers and commitments and I will believe its a possibility.

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  6. Don says:

    How many seats do Corp's buy at the Bucs...not too many, I'm not talking suites..I'm talking seats.....none,same at Rays..

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