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MLB | Sep 19

Rays Expected 1.2 Billion New Stadium Deal

Rays New Home Would Stay In St. Petersburg

Rays Expected 1.2 Billion New Stadium Deal
Tyler Glasnow #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches during a game/Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images/AFP

It’s All About the 30,000 Seat Domed Stadium

In other words, the fact that Tropicana Field is not in Tampa is the actual problem…

In MLB news today is the announcement that the Tampa Bay Rays are close to completing a deal for a new stadium. Their current home, Tropicana Field, is seen as one of the worst stadiums in the country. The new stadium solves half the problem, with the location announced as St. Petersburg.

Clippers New Stadium Part of Larger Trend

The Los Angeles Clippers won’t get out of the Lakers’ shadow in this lifetime. Their current owner, Steve Ballmer, is determined to make that happen, and he knows that step one is getting their own building. After tons of litigation, Ballmer was finally given the green light to start construction on the Intuit Dome in downtown Los Angeles. Ballmer, who was the chief executive officer at Microsoft, has always been forward-thinking.

This new arena will include a practice facility, team offices, a sports medicine clinic as well as a large outdoor plaza with basketball courts. These courts will be open to the public in a move that shows that Ballmer knows how to give fans what they want. Speaking of giving fans what they want, I’m not sure the Rays‘ new arena is going to do that.

Do Stadiums Benefit the Public

This is one of the oldest arguments in sports: does investing in a local stadium benefit the community? Well, I guess that depends on who you ask. We’ll start with non sports fans who will most likely say no. The reason why they should pay taxes to benefit billionaire owners of these franchises? It’s hard to argue with that if we’re being honest here. Those in favor will say that a new stadium attracts tourists, creates jobs, and helps with local economic growth.

However, a little bit of research on the subject ultimately shows that this isn’t exactly true. We can start with local jobs, which is one of the big claims that owners make when trying to get a new stadium approved. Most stadium employees are not full-time workers. These part-time jobs, as you can imagine, do not pay a lot. The poster child for this debate has been the Oakland A’s of the MLB. The A’s have applied to relocate the franchise to Vegas when their lease at the Oakland Coliseum expires at the end of the 2024 season.

It’s pretty simple: the team has a very cheap owner who wants the city to subsidize his team. Oakland has already lost the Raiders of the NLF to Vegas, and the Warriors of the NBA have moved their arena to nearby San Francisco. With all of their financial issues, Oakland residents do not see the benefit of a new stadium, and they’re absolutely right about that.

Rays to Open New Arena in St. Petersburg

Tampa Bay Rays news and rumors can’t be complete without talking about Tropicana Field. The most hated stadium in professional baseball by fans and players alike might be a thing of the past in the next few years. It appears that the Rays are finally getting a new home, kind of. Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, has been consistently in the bottom five of the league for attendance. Traveling fans of other teams, as well as opposition players, regularly complain about the conditions there. You would think this is the reason that they are always near the bottom of baseball in attendance, and you would be kind of right.

There’s so much more to this MLB news story, which makes this recent announcement a bit confusing for locals. Notice the headline isn’t that the Rays will finally play in Tampa. The new stadium is staying in St. Pete, which is a big problem. The Tampa area includes St. Pete to the southwest and Clearwater to the northwest. Unfortunately for Rays fans who live in Tampa, they are separated by a body of water from the other two cities.

Tampa Bay itself is what makes the region so attractive to residents and visitors. It’s also the biggest obstacle to the Rays’ success. In the simplest of terms, it’s not easy to get to St. Pete from other cities, especially Tampa. On top of that, the public transportation in St. Pete is nowhere near where it needs to be, which does help the problem. Getting to the stadium requires traveling down very small roads and bridges that were not built for the influx of people from bigger cities, all driving to the same place at the same time.

In other words, the fact that Tropicana Field is not in Tampa is the actual problem! If that’s the case, how is building a new stadium in the same place a solution? The ugly truth is that it probably isn’t. Just check out the reaction of local fans on Twitter regarding the announcement. The only complaint that you see is the issue of location, meaning the original problem is only 50% solved. A pretty new arena for fans with all of the bells and whistles is great. What isn’t a good idea is putting it in a place that people can’t be bothered to travel to.

Here are some concerning Tweets by fans:

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