MLB: FEB 19 Rays Spring Training

$20 million. That’s the most the Rays would have to pay to get of their contract with the city of St. Pete for using Tropicana Field.

The Rays have reached an agreement with the city of St. Petersburg that will allow the Rays to explore potential stadium sites in Hillsborough County according to Stephen Nohlgren of

That’s nice, but we knew that was coming.

More importantly, we now know how much it would cost the Rays to move. More specifically, we now know how much the Rays would have to pay the city of St. Pete to get out of their contract to use Tropicana Field.

It is a lot less than we feared.

Payments would be based on how many years would remain on the Trop lease if the Rays left, starting at $4 million a season until December 2018, dropping to $3 million a season from 2019 to 2022 and $2 million from 2023 through 2026.

As we learned previously, during previous negotiations with former mayor Bill Foster, the city wanted $5 million per season, while the Rays were offering $2-3 million.

So it would seem the Rays won this negotiation because the $4 million price will never come into play.

Under the most optimistic scenario, let’s assume it takes 18 months to find a location and figure out how to pay for it. That means the city of Tampa would break ground for a new stadium in mid-2016.

Marlins Park took about 2.5 years to build.

If we use this rough schedule, that would mean the earliest the Rays could potentially move into a new stadium would be in 2019.

That would mean the Rays would have to pay at most $3 million for four years (2019-22) and then $2 million for four years (2023-26).

That’s $20 million over eight years.

That’s not bad at all.

[Ed. note: the wording in the story is not entirely clear. There is a possibility that the payment schedule does not change if there are more than 4 years left on the contract. For example, if the Rays leave in 2019, you could interpret the paragraph above to mean they would have to pay $3 million for EVERY year left on the contract. That would raise the total price to $24 million. Still not bad.]



  1. Woodrow744 says:

    Is it possible that we're finally going to flush this huge turd of a lease Vince Namoli laid?

  2. Gus says:

    Combined with the story from the weekend whereby Tampa's Mayor Buckhorn declared very few decent sites available (but you can have the housing slum in the shadow of the Expressway!), I think we have officially been played Tampa Bay fans.

    Stalking Horse City TBD now knows exactly the price of the exit and what judge could argue; good work Mayor Kriesman! Sternberg has bought and sold you and I'm not sure you even realized it happened.

    Again, if Tampa had any capacity (financial, real estate locaction and political will) to keep the team in Tampa Bay, I'd be more than happy. But they don't. So this 3-act drama comes with Sternberg saying -- sorry we tried, but we came in and bought this team for pennies on the dollar (in part because of its 30 year lease) and we are packing up and moving. And here is the pittance for your troubles, Kriesman.

    • Geoff Peterson says:

      This agreement does not include any out of town buyout. Those scenarios are still described as incalculable damages.

      • Gus says:

        But when you have calculated the damages for a move to Tampa it undermines the argument that your damages are incalculable. Eviserates the argument really.

        • Geoff Peterson says:

          Not really. If the Rays leave Pinellas for Hillsborough there is still a positive economic impact for the Tampa Bay area. If they leave for another state, there is significantly more negative economic impact and the damages would likely be calculated by the same Manatee judge mentioned in the agreement.

          • Gus says:

            The legal point is the difference between specific performance (the "incalcuable damages") and a breach of contract that can be monetized. I hope for everyone in Tampa Bay that this legal argument for incalcuable damages can be sustained. But I can see Sternberg's attorney rightly pointing out: but they just agreed what their damages are and the plaintiff here is the City of St. Petersburg/Pinellas County, not the "Tampa Bay Area". St. Pete can only get the contractual rights it is entitled to. Do you see how they are trying to slip one past the goalie here? I'm not saying they should win, I'm saying they let the camel's nose under the tent -- a very well funded and determined camel. Something they did not have to do, and something they should have never done given the hopelessness of the Tampa sites.

  3. Razzlegator says:

    Go ya fifty $tu tries to pay with derivatives.

  4. Dave L says:

    How could the City of St Pete's agreement limit them to Hillsborough, Florida or the USA for that matter?

    Everyone bitched about Foster being the stumbling block but there never was any reasonable public/private funding available in the TB area since the Rays ascendency which coincided with the ecomomic collapse of the mid-oughts so it was a moot point effectively.

    Is there really funds available now? In Hillsborough? Whose money?

    Fear is right.

    Foster was protecting the TB region from losing the Rays outright with his intransigence. Now that the new St Pete mayor whoever the hell he is (I live in Venice) has sold out his constituents for a pittance, just hope the Rays stay in the area, myopic Hillborough Rays fans. Pray is more like it as your municipalities have offered nothing to fulfill your fantasies of a Tampa ballpark

    Now you got what you wished for the Rays Mayflower trucks may one day soon head over Howard Franklin as you dreamed but they may not stop at the Pasco County line.


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