The Miami (neé Florida) Marlins will open their brand-spanking-new stadium next season, in all its retractable roof-glory, and tacky outfield home run sculptures. The project is estimated to have cost $515 million.

With the Tampa Bay Rays hoping to get their own new playground in the near future, or risk vaporization, the Tampa Chamber of Commerce recently calculated how much the city of Tampa could contribute (via Richard Danielson).

According to Richard Danielson, that number is $90-100 million. Danielson goes into details on where that money would come from, and he also emphasizes that “Tampa hasn’t said it would put the money toward a stadium, only that it could.”

Now consider that, back in 2007, when the Rays proposed the waterfront stadium, they were expected to contribute approximately $150 million to the cost. Let’s say that number is $200 million now. That still leaves more than $200 million unaccounted for in the construction of a new baseball park.

Where would that money come from? The options appear to be either the state of Florida or private financing.

Of course, none of this matters if the city of St. Pete continues to hold the Rays to their contract.



  1. Morgan says:

    Curious what it would cost to buy out the Trop lease? Is that option even possible?

    • Cork Gaines says:

      That's the tricky part. It's not a regular lease. If it were, they could just pay what's owed and leave. But technically, the Rays aren't a tenant, they are the city's business partner. And the city will argue that the contract is worth more to them than just the amount the Rays pay in rent. What is that amount? I have no idea. But I can imagine that the city is going to say it is a lot bigger than anybody is willing to pay.

      • Nick says:

        Cork didn't you post or link to an article after last season that showed the Rays actually cost the city of St Pete money when you consider police coverage for games and the increased amount of insuance costs after 9-11 and the hurricanes. It would seem that if it was true that St Pete would be leading the way to get the Rays to move across the bay.

        • Sarah says:

          I don't recall seeing that article -- but no doubt if St. Pete wants to keep the Rays it would not be because any direct revenues they receive are so lucrative. They would instead be considering the multiplier effects of people coming to the area and buying goods (dinner before the game, etc) and the harder to measure benefits of being seen as "major league". In many cities, officials argue that stadium investments are worth it for the free advertising the city gets when a game is nationally broadcast. Of course, since all the national media think the team plays in Tampa, and everytime a network broadcasts a game their commentators do nothing but diss the stadium and its location, I'm not sure St. Pete is really benefitting at this point!

  2. J in Tampa says:

    Glad to see that Vince Naimoli and Chuck LaMar are keeping quiet after signing this lease extension on their way out the door.

  3. Gus says:

    As I have been saying for years in this space, Hillsborough/Tampa is tapped out for the next 10-20 years thanks to (a) shortsighted leaders who gave the farm away to the Yankees and Lightning and (b) the fact that they have zero tourists visiting Tampa, and thus no hotel tax (Miami's beaches are funding a substantial portion of the Marlins stadium). $100M might build a low-end spring training facility, if you had the land.

    Couple of other notes:
    1. The dreamed about location -- Channeliside -- is all privately owned land. $100M MIGHT be able to buy the land and acquire the infrastructure to build the ballpark. Now you've go to finance $400-$500M for the stadium itself. Good luck.

    2. So you see how this is going. 4 years ago, downtown St. Pete was a findeplace to build a baseball stadium according to Michael Kalt (where is he these days?) and the Sternberg Group. Now they make goo-goo eyes in Tampa to try and stir the pot, and Tampa has effectively told them, no dice. Will finace your site and a garage. Knock yourself out. $100M is chump change.

    3. There was no "lease extension" as J in Tampa thinks. Same agreement/lease that was signed in 1996. What are you talking about? The Rays best financial deal in Tampa Bay has been and always will be in Pinellas County. Sarah is correct in that there is no positive revenue for the City here. They pay about $6M a year in City bonds and a share of tourist tax $ that might go to other City or County projects pay the rest of the debt service on the County slide.

    4. This should, once and for all, put to rest the notion that a stadium in Tampa is a possibility in the next decade. The best case theoretical contribution is $100M (good luck getting people to agree to that in this economy anyway). If people want to see baseball in Tampa Bay, I'd suggest you see it in Pinellas, because if the Rays move, they are moving a lot further away than Channelside (and I don't think the chances of them moving are very high at all anyway).

    5. Can we focus on getting a Molina to catch for this team?

  4. Sarah says:

    Gus, seriously you read my mind! not about the stadium stuff, which I try not to think about. But the Molina thing. I keep thinking there must be a spare Molina out there who could catch for us. Yadier seems to be doing well with the Cards. But that still leaves Benjie and then there was a third. Are they retired? couldn't they come back for a year?


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