The Economic Impact Report Of Building A New Rays’ St. Petersburg Ballpark Seems Too Good To Be True

Randy Arozarena Scores As Rays Rout Seattle 15-4
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Rays’ Ownership may be targeting St. Petersburg.

When a sports franchise owner or any area that is trying to attract a sports franchise puts out a preliminary report on how a stadium or an arena will benefit a community, that report should be taken with a grain of salt. The ownership of Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays is seeking a new stadium somewhere in the Tampa Bay market and St. Petersburg officials think the city can provide the owners with a ballpark near the present stadium in a ballpark-village concept.

A study, conducted by a Utah-based firm named Victus Advisors claims that a Rays-St. Petersburg park would create up to 17,782 sustainable, annual jobs in Pinellas County over 30 years and stadium construction would pump into the local economy as much as $250 million in Pinellas County on a project expected to cost about $1 billion. The Victus Advisors report projected that building a stadium would create 4,500 construction jobs, and that redeveloping the area around the ballpark could generate another 22,000, with nearly $2 billion in combined wages. In the long term, it estimated that the stadium and development would boost the county’s economy by creating more than 17,000 sustainable jobs, in industries including sports, entertainment and hospitality. Just how did Victus Advisors come up with what seem to be pie-in-the-sky figures? That is a good question. Victus Advisors is not putting out information about its conclusion. That figure of 17,782 jobs seems to be excessively high. Rays’ ownership is playing the stadium game and the ownership group may still be looking at other ballpark sites in the Tampa Bay market. The Rays’ franchise lease with the city of St. Petersburg in the present stadium ends in 2027.

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