Stuart SternbergThe big news this week is the agreement reached between the Rays and the City of St. Pete that grants the team permission to look for a new stadium in Hillsborough county and also sets the price the Rays would have to pay to get out of their contract with the city.

What that agreement doesn’t do is give the Rays permission to look for stadium sites outside of the Bay Area. That would seem to eliminate the possibility of the Rays moving to Montreal … for now.

Stuart Sternberg addressed that situation with the media at the Winter Meetings and made it clear that he will never move the Rays. However, he also made it clear that if the Rays don’t get a new stadium by 2023, he will sell the team and the next owner will move the team.

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13 Comments

  1. Mr. Smith 1980 says:

    Seems reasonable.

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  2. Gus says:

    The arrogance of that guy. He can't even imagine an ownership group from Tampa Bay buying the team and keeping it here. Maybe privately financing their own stadium (like the Giants). Beyond the realm of his comprehension. He wants his governmental welfare but can't even be bothered to live in the community.

    You could start and see that some of his partners right now still live in the Tampa Bay area (unless he's bought them all out unbeknownst to me).

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    • Michael says:

      Ummm... it's not just him. I've lived here since 1984 and I can't imagine a local group buying the team, keeping it here, and paying for their own stadium.

      Gus, you're clearly a well-informed guy. You've made your feelings known on several occasions. But my question to you is this: what do you see as the future for this team beyond Tropicana Field??

      Seriously. It's a situation that can't last past the next 3 - 5 years or so, lease or no lease. I'm sorry, but your idea of a local billionaire waiting in the wings to buy the team and building a stadium with his own money here (probably close to your house) is delusional.

      So is the idea of them happily playing in the Trop through 2027 and moving into a new place in St Pete on the city's terms.

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      • Gus says:

        They have a contract to play at the Trop through 2027. When Sternberg bought into the team, he inherited that contract, good or bad. In America, businesses live up to their contracts, particularly where they are receiving public subsidies. That's not delusional. That's how business works. Name me all the sports teams that ditched leases before they expired and moved? A list of 1 in the last 50 years I believe.

        I agree that very few groups in America have paid for their own stadiums, but it does seem that tide is turning some and teams are paying more and more of their share. When we get to the early 2020s, who knows what Tampa Bay, Florida or the USA will look like? My surmise is that it will be a stronger market by then, and it only takes one person to want to acquire the team. Maybe he likes playing rent free in a stadium with no overhead as opposed to paying millions in contributory debt service?

        I do think it very realistic that a local group buys the team. A local group bought the team in the first place, then mismanaged it so badly that MLB had to step in.

        Mayor Foster -- so roundly criticized by many -- was dead right when he said -- what is one more year of the Rays worth? It is worth a ton to the City, and far more than the damages they may be agreeing to today.

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        • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

          What America do you live in where companies maintain their contracts?

          You guys are too emotionally vested to focus on the fact that this is a business and owners (all of them, not just Wall Street Stu) are businessmen. He is perfectly within his rights to hedge his investment any way he chooses, and in a capitalist America he is entitled to grow it however he chooses.

          You're asking for a list of ditched leases; I counter that with, give me a list of leases that are remotely as ridiculous as the Trop lease.
          This lease is an outlier and shouldn't be compared to the norm.

          And to end my scatterbrained response:
          You are smoking crack if you believe someone is going to privately build a stadium.

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          • Gus says:

            What lease term is ridiculous in the Rays?

            Cost: It is a very good deal for the club; probably the lowest overhead of any club in MLB; almost no rent; no contribution from the club. Just a sliding scale of ticket revenues that doesn't really kick in(I'm going from meory here) until the club gets over 2M fans each season.

            Maybe that is part of the incentive, in fact, to depress attendance (along with it facilitiating the "wrong location" argument). I don't know.

            Length: Almost every new stadium lease is 30 years (to match up with the debt associated with it). That is probably why 30 years ended up in the Rays lease, in case you were wondering.

            So what is a ridiculous aspect of the lease?

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  3. Dave L says:

    Not living nor spending much time in this area Stu has no feeling for the absolute zero appetitie the municipalities of Hillsborough and Tampa have for forking over the huge percentage of public money he is asking for to build a modern stadium. Manhatten is his little bubble.

    First the Tampa Pro football stadium sweet heart deal which the Glazers proceeded to leverage into buying Man U done wholely on the backs of the people of this area.

    Second the Marlins deal.

    This is the first step of a drawn out 5 year Kabuki dance in which the people of the northwest side of the bay go from suitors to the enemy as they dont pony up his (properly characterized by Gus) welfare payment.

    This is going to end badly.

    Everyone, including Stu is singing from the same 'only free to look locally' hymnal. That wont last. Im no lawyer but - I will grant you a divorce as long as you agree to only remarry a lutheran redhead - is something that works only in fairy tales not in the real world.

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  4. Dave L says:

    BTW whats with that pic???

    Is Stu using a clamshell flip fone or is he asking Scotty to beam him up?

    Time to refresh the Stu avatars Cork!

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    • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

      If I remember correctly, he was pictured using that phone during several broadcasts this season...

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      • Dave L says:

        Oh so its his prop to show hes an everyman. Maybe thats why hes brandishing it so conspicuously in the interview. Wait! I have to take this call from 2006...

        Interesting I never noticed that.

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  5. Jim says:

    1. Does Miami still receive any “welfare” money from MLB?
    2. Will building a new stadium get the Rays out of the bottom 1/4 of the league in attendance after the new has worn off the stadium?
    3. What teams are heavily subsidized by MLB and how does there attendance compare to the Rays?
    4. What happened to the infamous “vaporize” statement?
    5. Will the payroll significantly go up with a new stadium and new TV deal?

    My answers
    1. Even with a new stadium, they still get money from MLB
    2. The new stadium will only put a temp band-aid on the attendance and the national stigma that surrounds it.
    3. SD,OAK,MIA,TB,ARZ,NYM,KC
    4. A complete bluff, now he’s talking 2023?
    5. NO

    A new stadium is nothing more than a new toy for Stu and MLB, and whatever area it is built. Basically it’s something to show off and brag about. What financial benefit will it have? What Jobs will it actually create? For every job it creates in Tampa, it loses one in ST Pete.

    The City of St Pete will benefit if the team moves. Whatever moves onto the Trop property will make the city more taxes and create higher paying position than the Trop could even think about. Hell, from what we just found out, some of the “jobs” that the Trop actually created were actually indentured servants anyway?!?!?

    As for the fans, the product on the field will be the same, but you’ll pay a hell of a lot more to park, eat, and watch it.

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  6. Jim says:

    #3 forgot HOU

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  7. Beazy245 says:

    Him along with Buckhorn, Vinik, etc. all already know their moving to the ConAgra mill location, we'll have to wait til' someone leaks it...

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