With the help of savvy scheduling, the Rays are hosting the Yankees mid-week, and normally that’s a strong draw, but it’s supposedly a doubly-strong draw with A-Rod in the house and the Yankees leading the division. The Tampa Bay community is saturated with Yankees fans of old, so the numbers were anticipated to be decent this week. Instead, the opposite has happened:
- Attendance was at it’s lowest ever in franchise history for a Yankees game on Tuesday night, at 10,619.
- Then last night, the attendance was announced at 10,417 for the new all-time low featuring New York.
Of course, last night’s number was surely compounded by the Tampa Bay Lightning hosting Montreal and winning their division in the Stanley Cup playoffs, but the number is still rather close to Tuesday’s figure when the hockey team was travelling. Unless fan interests intersect directly with the NBA playoffs, of which the closest team playing is 500 miles away, then there’s not a good excuse.
The Rays are one step closer to moving to Paducah, Kentucky.
ch over a minor monetary amount, with many council members taking offense that the team was not interested in negotiating in public forums.
The sticking point were any profits that might have been had if the City redeveloped a portion of Tropicana Field’s 80-acres while the team still occupied the site. Under the current agreement, the team and City split profits equally….
The Rays owner has already made two intentions very clear: that the Rays must be allowed to explore all options in Tampa Bay for their next stadium in order to have a long term solution, and that the search will begin by 2022 with or without City Council approval due to necessity. The Team and Council are at odds.
Separately, Sternberg has also said that without a new stadium, the Rays will be sold and likely moved out of Tampa Bay. By denying consideration of the amended agreement, particularly after efforts by the Rays to re-negotiate the deal to meet the Council’s concerns, means the Rays are that much closer to leaving Tampa Bay.
The team is being backed into a corner, being legally unable to search for a new stadium means the ownership’s prospects of staying long term in the area are not bright. How will that impact their pending negotiations for a new television contract?
The Havana Rays has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
The City Council of St. Petersburg has denied a deal that would allow the Rays to look outside the City of St. Petersburg for a new stadium location.
Kennedy then also questioned why the Rays should maintain 50% of redevelopment rights for Tropicana Field if they chose to leave. This appeared to be a strong sticking point to the Council, given their inability to renegotiate with the team on the proposed to deal.
In good faith, Kennedy then made a motion for the Council to schedule a workshop to discuss building a new stadium within the city of St. Petersburg.
The Council voted on and approved the matter immediately and unanimously, led by Kennedy with the hope to put, “real numbers on the table… that will allow the Rays to realize it’s worthwhile to spend some time evaluating what they can do in the City of St. Petersburg,” echoing Auld’s intent for “the next generation.”
Having finally reached what he considers a fair agreement with St. Petersburg to look for stadium sites in Tampa, Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg restated his confidence in the Tampa Bay area as a strong market for Major League Baseball.
But he also said that if the agreement is not approved and there is no deal in place within the next few years for a new stadium to be built, he likely will sell the team and would expect it to be moved out of the Tampa Bay area when the Trop lease runs out in 2027.
“I’m not leaving. I’m not moving this team. I’m not taking this team out of the area. But that’s me,’’ Sternberg said at baseball’s winter meetings in San Diego. “The chances of me owning this team in 2023 if we don’t have a new stadium are probably nil. Somebody else will take it and move it. It’s not a threat, just the reality. I won’t be sitting here 10 years from now waiting it out to move the team.’‘
While acknowledging approval by the St. Petersburg City Council on Thursday remains “a big hurdle,” Sternberg said he believes that approval can lead to success in the market.
“I think baseball can still flourish down here and I’m looking for the oppotunity to make that happen,’’ Sternberg said. “We need to get the building and the location pinpoint perfect for that to happen.’‘