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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Field of Schemes: Sternberg on new Rays stadium: You gotta belieeeeeeeve!

A regular Gut McGraw…

Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg completed his tour of the region’s county commissions yesterday, following up Thursday’s “Don’t make Bud mad” performance with an appearance at the Pinellas County Commission in which he said he needs to draw 30,000 fans a year, and that can only happen if he gets a new stadium not in downtown St. Petersburg.

  Rays owner Stuart Sternberg told commissioners that fewer than 300 St. Pete residents have season-ticket accounts, accounting for just shy of 1,000 season tickets. Sternberg pointed out a lack of business support in St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay’s fourth-biggest business center.

  Sternberg mentioned North St. Pete’s Carillon/Gateway region, Tampa’s Westshore, and Tampa’s downtown as more viable locations, indicating a new stadium in the right place could draw 30,000 fans a game.

And how does Sternberg know this?

  10 News also questioned Sternberg about the likelihood of drawing 30,000 fans regularly when several playoff teams with new stadiums failed to draw 30,000 fans per game this year.

  “I believe in baseball,” Sternberg responded, before looking for the next question.

Okay, but seriously, Sternberg has done marketing studies or something that show that his team would bring in more money in another location, right?

Repoz Posted: January 30, 2013 at 09:19 AM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, rays

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   1. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: January 30, 2013 at 10:38 AM (#4358139)
Whenever somebody talks about "deadbeats" looking for handouts, I talk about this.
   2. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: January 30, 2013 at 10:45 AM (#4358145)
The Rays are finally committing to the "Our stadium sucks, don't show up" message. I think Tropicana Field is going to end up never hosting an All-Star Game.

Stadiums that hosted MLB for more than 3 years and never hosted an All-Star Game:

Arlington Stadium (22 seasons)
Marlins Arena under its various names (19 seasons)
Exhibition Stadium (13 seasons)
Jarry Park (8 seasons)

And among the older ones: (the ASH started in 1933)
Baker Bowl (1933-1938)
League Park, Cleveland (1933-1946)
Others?

   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 30, 2013 at 11:13 AM (#4358186)

10 News also questioned Sternberg about the likelihood of drawing 30,000 fans regularly when several playoff teams with new stadiums failed to draw 30,000 fans per game this year.

“I believe in baseball,” Sternberg responded, before looking for the next question.


THE EXTRA 2%!
   4. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: January 30, 2013 at 11:17 AM (#4358188)
The extra 2% (sales tax the revenue from which will be funneled directly into the pockets of Stu Sternberg)!
   5. BDC Posted: January 30, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4358216)
several playoff teams with new stadiums failed to draw 30,000 fans per game this year


That's technically correct, but depends on a generous definition of "new" and a very strict one of "30,000," and possibly also of "playoff." Half of the Division Series teams drew fewer than 30,000 per, but the Nationals (in the newest park of the group) were barely under 30K and the Reds (in a 10-year-old stadium) not far behind. That leaves Baltimore (~25K) and Oakland (~20K) as the weak links; Oakland's park is one of the oldest, and Baltimore's is now well older than median. Atlanta drew barely under 30K, if you want to count them as a playoff team.

Though I don't know why this matters. You certainly would expect most good teams with newish parks to draw 30K; the problem is not that that's unrealistic, but that T/SP is showing no signs of such potential.

I hate all the BS that goes with new-stadium demands, but MLB is doing what most businesses do: showing concern about their lowest-performing location/franchise/product/market.
   6. Rough Carrigan Posted: January 30, 2013 at 12:36 PM (#4358265)
Wall Street Whiz Boy Stu Sternberg probably planned on conning/extorting a bunch of hicks into giving him a stadium somewhere along the line. Too bad for him that the antics of the Fed and a bunch of Wall Street Whiz Boys so screwed up the economy that cities and counties don't have the wherewithal to give away any more stadiums to the likes of Stu Sternberg. Boo hoo.
   7. valuearbitrageur Posted: January 30, 2013 at 01:03 PM (#4358293)
I hate all the BS that goes with new-stadium demands, but MLB is doing what most businesses do: showing concern about their lowest-performing location/franchise/product/market.


Most businesses actually try to fix their lowest performing location/franchise/product/markets with their own resources, not taxpayer funds.

The thousands of bad actors who suck the public teat don't negate the fact that there are millions of legitimate businesses have to help foot the bill for those frauds.
   8. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: January 30, 2013 at 01:32 PM (#4358324)
Tons of businesses of a certain size seek out taxpayer funds. Widen this road to help our trucks get in and out faster. Process our waste. Seize this land and give it to us so we can expand and hire more people. Exempt us from taxes for 5 years or we'll move someplace that will. Change the law to let us build something nobody else is allowed to build (a windfall, if not direct transfer of taxpayer funds). We promise you, this will all benefit you because of the tax revenue and people moving to the area to work for us and shop with us. Cabela's and Bass Pro Shops have a whole business model of getting tax breaks because their stores are supposedly "museums". It's inherent in the search for profit to at least attempt these things.
   9. BDC Posted: January 30, 2013 at 02:20 PM (#4358369)
I didn't know about the "museum" angle, but Bass Pro (not unlike the Rangers or Cowboys) makes a habit of getting cities to rename sections of public roads after them, with the result that there are quite a few signs on D/FW freeways for "Bass Pro Drive, next exit."
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 30, 2013 at 02:31 PM (#4358380)
Bass Pro and Cabela's are two of the worst offenders for tax incentives.

Both Bass Pro Shops and its archrival, Cabela’s, sell hunting and fishing gear in cathedral-like stores featuring taxidermied wildlife, gigantic fresh-water aquarium exhibits and elaborate outdoor reproductions within the stores. The stores are billed as job generators by both companies when they are fishing for development dollars. But the firms’ economic benefits are minimal and costs to taxpayers are great.

An exhaustive investigation conducted by the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity found that the two competing firms together have received or are promised more than $2.2 billion from American taxpayers over the past 15 years.


Wal-Mart is of course another famous example. One near us was just renovated not more than a year ago. A neighboring city is now going to build a new one literally not more than 1000 feet away using not only city, but state tax incentives as the anchor of a new development. The old Wal Mart will be shuttered. It provided 60% of the sales tax revenue for this small town.

The tax incentive is especially perverse in metros that cross state-lines like Kansas City. We have Topeka battling Jefferson City in who can attract more "jobs", but all its doing is just changing where people have to commute in the metro area, while eroding the tax base.

Over the past three years, more than 3,000 jobs have jumped the border from Missouri to Kansas, and more than 2,500 jobs have gone the other way to Missouri. A big cross-border incentive has been a program offered by both states that allows companies bringing “new jobs” to keep their employee state income tax for up to 10 years.

The Good Jobs report called it “fraudulent” to describe those existing jobs as “new jobs.” That’s particularly true in our area where companies move their offices sometimes by only a mile or two while their employees continue to live and spend their money where they always have.

In three years, Missouri and Kansas combined have let companies targeted for poaching keep $191 million in income taxes that otherwise would flow to their coffers, according to an estimate in December by Bill Hall, president of the Hall Family Foundation.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: January 30, 2013 at 03:34 PM (#4358456)
Awesome! Taxes paid by employees to their employers. I know all government workers technically do this but if I worked for one of those companies, I know I'd be asking for a raise.
   12. geonose Posted: January 30, 2013 at 04:55 PM (#4358539)
...he said he needs to draw 30,000 fans a year...

I'm confused. 30,000 fans per year? Should that be per game?
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 30, 2013 at 04:58 PM (#4358544)

I'm confused. 30,000 fans per year? Should that be per game?


Baby steps.
   14. DJS, the Digital Dandy Posted: January 30, 2013 at 05:14 PM (#4358557)
Thanks, deMause, now I have PaRappa the Rapper songs in my head.
   15. Stormy JE Posted: January 31, 2013 at 09:25 AM (#4358884)
Maybe Jonah Keri's sequel can be called The Extra 200%, focusing on Sternberg's quest to reach the 30K fans per game figure.
   16. The District Attorney Posted: January 31, 2013 at 11:01 AM (#4358981)
Thanks, deMause, now I have PaRappa the Rapper songs in my head.
If the Rays don't get a new stadium, they're gonna move on to the next ya jockey now.
   17. Charlie O Posted: January 31, 2013 at 02:08 PM (#4359335)
The tax incentive is especially perverse in metros that cross state-lines like Kansas City. We have Topeka battling Jefferson City in who can attract more "jobs", but all its doing is just changing where people have to commute in the metro area, while eroding the tax base.


Damned Border Ruffians! When will it all end?

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