Stuart Sternberg was in attendance on opening day and, of course, the subject of a new stadium came up.
“Progress isn’t going to happen with one meeting or another…It’s going to happen with like minds coming together and figuring out what’s best for the citizens of St. Petersburg and Tampa Bay and Florida in general. I do think things will happen. We’ve been at this seven years, with a few different mayors. I feel most confident in what the mayor has done so far and I think the city is poised for some incredible things…The clock is ticking and it’s loudly ticking, but it has been ticking loudly for a few years. Every day that goes by is another day closer to when a decision will have to be made.’’
This comes on the heels of the recent surge in talk saying MLB should move back to Montreal.
The real question is what is the clock ticking towards? It is not ticking towards 2027, which is the end of the Rays’ use-agreement with the city of St. Pete, and it is not ticking towards the end of this season.
So it is ticking towards something in between.
The most likely answer is that the clock is ticking towards 2016, which is the end of the Rays’ current television deal.
Chances are the Rays will want to know their future before starting a new TV deal in 2017. That means plans for a new stadium will need to be in place by 2016, whether that it is in the Bay Area or some place else.
That also means we may go another 1-2 years before things really start to heat up. At that point, the price on a buyout will start to dwindle and we may start to hear some serious overtures from other cities as they scramble to see if they can come up with money to build their own stadiums to lure the Rays.
When that happens, the governments in Tampa, St. Pete, and Tallahassee will start to take this seriously, but not before then.
In the meantime, all we can do is sit back and wait.