Money that’s what I want.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred didn’t exactly leak state secrets when he said work is needed to get funding for the proposed Tampa Bay Rays’ Ybor City stadium. Rays’ ownership needs financial support to pay off the sticker price which at the moment is slightly less than $900 million. Who pays? The team? Small and mid-market teams don’t pay the whole stadium bill. Rays’ ownership seems to be willing to put up $150 million which means another $750 million needs to be found. There is a possibility that a federal tax break is available to use in building the facility. Will the state kick in money? That is an unknown at the moment however Florida is heavily invested in sports franchises and facilities through tourism taxes that are being used to pay down stadium or arena debts. Will local county and city taxes go into the development? If so, how much will taxpayers contribute and will there be a challenge asking for a referendum, a yes or no vote on spending local tax dollars on a Rays’ stadium? Can Rays’ ownership negotiate a deal by December 31st with St. Petersburg officials to shorten the 30 year lease the group has to use that city’s stadium? That lease runs out in 2027.
Meanwhile, Rays’ ownership group has identified what type of fan they want in the building. There will be 28,216 seats which means a few things. There will be ticket scarcity which means that fewer casual baseball fans who might want to make a day or night of it at the ballpark as a spur of the moment thing better plan ahead. Ticket prices will also be very high. The ownership will cater to customers who are willing to spend more on seats and will use in venue restaurants and eateries. The new stadium is not being built for diehard baseball fans.