Rays fans attendanceEarlier today we talked about the latest report linking the Rays to Montreal. But there was another small detail that most overlooked, something we have talked about here in the past.

If the Rays are going to stay in the Tampa Bay area, they need to have a new stadium approved by 2016.

Here is the relevant passage from the Montreal newspaper (translation via Shadow of the Stadium):

The Rays were clear in their trade with Montreal representatives: they want to do everything possible to ensure the future of the team in the long run in the Tampa Bay area . In this regard, two issues will be crucial over the next two years negotiating a future contract with the local TV ( the current contract ends after the season 2016) and the construction of a new stadium, preferably near the center -town Tampa Bay.

The key point here is that the Rays’ current TV deal expires in 2016.

The next TV deal could be worth $80-100 million per year based on local TV ratings. But the value of that deal is going to go way down if there is no guarantee that the Rays are staying in the area.

While a new stadium will help attendance, it will also boost TV ratings both directly and indirectly. In addition to just being a better visual experience, there will also be the curiosity and pride factors that will bring more eyes to the TV broadcasts. Bigger crowds will also give the appearance that the team is more popular suggesting that watching the team is something everybody is doing and people at home should too.

In other words, when the Rays sit down to negotiate their next deal, something that is going to happen soon, the network(s) is going to want assurances that the team is staying and will have a new stadium in the very near future.

There is still time for the Rays to get a new stadium in the Bay Area, but the clock is ticking.

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5 Comments

  1. Gus says:

    The problem for the Rays is that they know that once they ink the TV deal, they have a TV partner for the balance of that (presumably) multi-year contract that they have to buy out and that takes away any relocation or get us a new stadium leverage.

    Moreover, having this hang over them (all of which is entirely self-inflicted by the Rays BTW) devalues the brand and the value of the TV contract (maybe that is their ultimate intention; hard to say at this point).

    It is all quite depressing when I have the nagging feeling Silverman and Sternberg are more worried about relocation than getting some decent catching help.

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  2. DRR says:

    Man, I would love to see the Rays move to a better city, but I just don't think it will happen.

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  3. Tyler says:

    Everyone in any position of power in the Bay area (really, Florida as whole) seems completely incompetent and stupid to the n'th degree, so doing anything correctly, something like keeping an MLB franchise, seems well beyond the grasp of these absolute morons.

    But maybe I'm just bitter.

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  4. Dave L says:

    In 2014 going forward for the forseeable future, unless you have a massive built in fanbase who yearns to be milked like the Yanks or Cowboys, no modern new stadium is going to be built anywhere in north america without the largest portion being public funds be it state or municipal. There is zero appetite for any part of the Tampa Bay region to pony up those funds.

    Fortunately for Rays fans, i doubt the situation around Montreal or ____ (fill in the blank) makes them any more eager to spend thier public monies either.

    Plus Oakland is in the same boat as us. How's that working out?

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  5. NC says:

    This thread title is a bit misleading. Certainly a new stadium deal would assist the Rays in negotiating a better long term TV deal. But if there is no stadium deal in place by the end of 2016 (there won't be) that doesn't mean the Rays can't still secure a nice short term TV deal. At that time there will still be 11 years left on the Trop agreement, so I can't imagine a TV deal of say 5 years would be putting anyone on the TV side of the deal at financial risk.

    The Mayor needs to push through the amendment before the end of the calendar year. The Rays would then need at least three years to fiddle around with Tampa and what they may have to offer. At that point their best option would have to be weighed against the best option Pinellas would have to offer. That could take a couple years. At this time you've eaten away at five of the remaining 13 years on the Trop's agreement. If the Rays brass isn't satisfied with what they see they could easily go into limbo for 8 years and do the unthinkable (and unlikely). But assuming a deal is struck then, the short TV deal would be up for renewal a few years after that and at that time they could really tap into the potential dollars (assuming the TV bubble hadn't burst).

    I feel like people want to take this story further down the timeline than it should be. The story now is the talks between the Rays and the Mayor. Once that is settled the story becomes "What can Tampa offer the Rays". Then the story becomes "Do the Rays like what St Pete would have to offer" (because St Pete will absolutely have something to offer). If all those options are exhausted then the relocation story can be written. But seriously, that story is in the back of the line.

    Off season page views....I'm guilty of it too.

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