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Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Nashville, home for Tampa Bay Rays? Tampa official says club thinking about it

Tampa City Council member Charlie Miranda said Friday that Tampa Bay Rays president Brian Auld told him this week that relocating to Nashville might be in the cards.

The revelation comes amid discord between the team and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, who has cut off negotiations with team owner Stu Sternberg as a lawsuit involving minority investors continues.

Miranda said Rays President Brian Auld brought up Nashville as a possible destination for the team if the solution for a new Rays ballpark doesn’t materialize in Tampa.

“They mentioned Nashville. They said Nashville wants to do it,” Miranda said, recounting what he was told by Auld and Rays vice president for public affairs and corporate communications Rafaela Amador.

Miranda said Auld sung the praises of the Music City and its devotion to its professional sports franchises like the NHL’s Predators and the NFL’s Titans.

“In conversation they’re looking at different cities, they’d like to stay in Tampa,” Miranda said, adding that Auld characterized Nashville as “an appealing city to go to. They’re very into sports.”


RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 02, 2021 at 09:21 AM | 16 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nashville, rays

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   1. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 02, 2021 at 10:28 AM (#6022010)
Personally, I'd like to see Montreal and Nashville end up with major league baseball teams, with Tampa and probably Oakland eventually ending up in those two cities. In terms of Nashville, if they can successfully swing having an NHL franchise, they can probably handle an MLB team just fine. And it is one of the enjoyable cities to visit in the country, a nice balance of a very tourist-friendly town combined with a desirable destination for a lot of people looking to live in the South. You've got Vanderbilt, a lot of big employers (Nissan, HCA, etc.) isn't the only city that would work, obviously, but to me, it is one of the easiest cities to see working out well.
   2. The Duke Posted: June 02, 2021 at 10:54 AM (#6022017)
There’s no way that Oakland can’t support a team if they get the stadium they need. It’s a big market like Chicago. Maybe the existing team will need to leave and then the city council will treat a new team better
   3. GregD Posted: June 02, 2021 at 12:17 PM (#6022052)
Nashville is a strong contender to put up two billion for an expansion team....there is no way the other owners will turn away that payday to let Tampa’s ownership benefit at every other owners expense.

Oakland is a far better market than any of the expansion sites and baseball would be praying that Oakland led the list of expansion team bidders if the As left. Tampa is hard to figure out from afar. On paper it’s a better market than any of its potential sites for moving but maybe there’s a reason things can’t work there

With Nashville or Charlotte a good scenario is a boom for a few years and then a Pittsburgh style outcome where they get fans when they’re good but aren’t really a thriving franchise, right?

Portland and Vegas would project quite a bit worse than that I think.

The silliness of the discussion is that not only is Oakland a better market than any of these places; Sacramento is a better market than they are (not that playing baseball in the Sacramento summers sounds like much fun to me)
   4. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: June 02, 2021 at 12:24 PM (#6022053)
I have never really figured it out, but the Bay Area as a whole is weird as regarded the Raiders and as regards the A's. The A's are so secondary to the Giants in the market it is almost ridiculous - the A's management got into a fight with the second-banana sports radio station (who got the Warriors broadcast rights and so wanted to talk about them, and was talking about the Giants more than the A's because that's who called in). The A's have never had a stable radio station, and they blew that, so now they are on a business-talk radio station, that sometimes doesn't carry their games when they are on too early in the afternoon (e.g. East Coast day games). The pecking order is "The 49ers, the Giants, the Warriors, the A's", and when the Raiders were in town the Raiders were above the A's, though talk of the Raiders is slowly fading. If the Sharks weren't so bad this year they would be above the A's. And the A's are in first place.

It didn't have to be this way - the A's were the talk of the town in the years they were owned by the Haas family (3 million attendance in 1989 IIRC), but since then they have been owned by a series of real estate developers who were mostly interested in figuring out how to get, not necessarily a new stadium, but a whole bunch of land to build other stuff, with a stadium thrown in for good measure. They tried that in Fremont, they tried it in San Jose, they have already gotten half of the Oakland Coliseum/Oakland Arena (with a lot of land with good freeway access, a BART station, and a monorail to the airport) sold to them in a sweetheart deal.

The A's problem is that, despite what seems at time some creative print and TV spots, they just haven't been able to capture the imagination of the Bay Area, and they tend to shoot themselves in the foot - their endless radio station circus, the way they handle the stadium situation, heck even their "Treehouse" monthly pass deal, which was a good idea and seemed to be working pretty well, they shelved for no apparent reason.

The strange thing is that the Coliseum is really not that bad of a stadium, it's a little old, sure, but the biggest problem I have seen is that when they actually have a big crowd (and they do sometimes), they always seem really unprepared, with extraordinarily long lines at concessions, concessions having other issues, restrooms closed inexplicably, miscellaneous other things that make me think they don't know what they are doing.

It's not the City of Oakland treating the A's badly, it's that the A's keep shooting themselves in the foot, combined with the dominance in the media landscape of the Giants, 49ers (and now Warriors) that the A's haven't been able to overcome (recently). Maybe it is a huge media market, but maybe it really only has enough room for one baseball team.
   5. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 02, 2021 at 12:26 PM (#6022054)
I agree with a lot of #3. I think Nashville could grow to be a decent-sized city, and the south seems like it has untapped potential - they could eat into the Braves territory quite a bit. They could be Pittsburgh, but they could also be Cincinnati or Milwaukee, which has had pretty good ownership and doesn't run the team like a poorhouse. It all depends on ownership. Anyway, I think Nashville is the best long-term option that doesn't currently have a team, but it is not nearly as good as the potential of Oakland or Tampa Bay in terms of markets. Not yet.
   6. AndrewJ Posted: June 02, 2021 at 12:40 PM (#6022061)
The A's franchise has never really drawn spectacularly in Oakland, Kansas City or Philadelphia -- their home attendance declined during the 1910-14 and 1929-31 dynasties, and in 1974 when the Finley Gang won their third Series in a row, their attendance was 11th in a 12-team league. The last time the A's led the American League in attendance was 1925.
   7. Traderdave Posted: June 02, 2021 at 12:49 PM (#6022064)
I once added up aggregate attendance of A's vs Giants from '68 onward. The A's outdrew the Giants until Pac Bell Park was built.
   8. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 02, 2021 at 12:53 PM (#6022066)

I had never been to Nashville until a few years ago, and it wasn't what I was expecting. A lot of growth and also the downtown area is basically like the New Orleans of Country Music and Rock cover bands as well as the Las Vegas of Bachelorette Parties. It wasn't really our scene (I was there with my wife), but it strikes me as the kind of place where fans of opposing teams might travel to see a series -- at least that's what seems to happen for an NFL game.
   9. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 02, 2021 at 01:18 PM (#6022077)
#8 hits it on the head. A good friend of mine moved from New England to Nashville with his young family for a good job with Nissan (US HQ are in the Nashville area), so we have been down there many times for long weekends. It is a great time, and no matter what time of year we have gone, it has been a zoo. In fact, Nashville is pretty much on the short list of cities that are part of the national convention super-circuit, with New Orleans, Las Vegas, Orlando, and a few other places. The thing those cities generally have in common is that they punch way above their weight when it comes to being able to attract visitors, and keep them coming back over a period of years. They are built for out-of-state visitors, generally have airports and hotels that are convenient to where the action is, and can compete with much bigger cities for things like big stadium events.

One of the best things Nashville did with the Titans is build a nice stadium right downtown, and with the Predators is build the Bridgestone Arena even more centrally downtown. You get your hotel downtown, you ea, drink, shop, and listen to great music downtown, and then you walk right over to the football or hockey game. And you can get downtown from the airport in less than 20 minutes. I would definitely take in a game as part of a visit, and there would be conventions every week sending many out-of-towners to a game, with the whole group dinner set up, as part of a night out. I think Nashville would surprise people with how well it would support an MLB team, as long as they figured out how to build it right downtown.
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 02, 2021 at 01:56 PM (#6022095)
I think it also helps that there are a lot of good-sized cities near Nashville that they can attract as eyeballs for an RSN. Portland and Las Vegas seem a lot more remote, with not as much around them.
   11. DL from MN Posted: June 02, 2021 at 02:17 PM (#6022103)
With Nashville or Charlotte a good scenario is a boom for a few years and then a Pittsburgh style outcome where they get fans when they’re good but aren’t really a thriving franchise, right?

I think Nashville gets enough visitors for other reasons who would be interested in seeing a baseball game on their trip. I don't think you can say the same about Pittsburgh or Charlotte.

I think Nashville and San Antonio are the two expansion locations most likely to build a brand new stadium. I think it would be less likely in Montreal or Portland, OR.
   12. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 02, 2021 at 03:04 PM (#6022125)

#9 yeah the reason we were in Nashville in the first place is that my wife was there for a work conference during the week, so I met her down there for the weekend. I was perplexed why they were hosting this conference in Nashville but once I got there I understood.
   13. Howie Menckel Posted: June 02, 2021 at 03:16 PM (#6022127)
my company has its US HQ there, and I visited for the 2019 and 2020 Super Bowl weekends.

I'm amazed at how small the downtown area is, just a handful of blocks, really (at least, the part where visitors go). The Opry is miles away, although the fabled Ryman Auditorium is right by the heart of the action.

it's big enough for a tourist weekend, though - plenty of bars to stop in, and you can hear the bands play from the sidewalks. more rock cover bands than I expected, vs pure country, but again that likely is for the tourists.

they have lots of streetcars/trolleys that are propelled by the footwork of those bachelorettes. if you know anyone in their 20s (or even 30s) who like the sound of that, recommend this city to them.

   14. Walt Davis Posted: June 02, 2021 at 06:22 PM (#6022179)
using Forbes' franchise value list, only 3 expansion teams have really been successful -- the Mets (duh), the Angels (duh) and the Nats (after moving there obviously) come in at #10. Per Forbes, the Nats aren't quite worth $2 B ... so who in their right mind is going to pay $2 B in an expansion fee.

Expansion fee aside, this is what a successful expansion franchise has to look forward to. Houston is a much bigger market and have been quite successful in terms of winning historically and recently and they sit at #12. The Rangers have a big market all to themselves and are #13. The Jays have a big market and all of Canada's TV rights and are at #15.

So a new expansion team is pretty much consigning themselve to the bottom half of the franchise value table unless they can somehow become the Cardinals (#7) which would probably take them 50 years. (Remember, the oldest expansion franchises are now 60 years old, even the Jays and Ms are 45.) Among the recent (non-Nats) expansion teams, the DBacks are the highest-valued at #20 at $1.32 B. The Rox are next at $1.3 and Forbes puts the Pirates (why?) next at $1.285. That's what a "modern" expansion success looks like ... and the Rox are nearly 30 years old now.

Forbes puts the Marlins #30 at just under $1 B and they put the Nats #10 at just under $2 B. So the gap between #30 and #10 is smaller than the gap between #10 and the Giants ($3.2 B) at #5. It is almost certain that any small/medium market team is gonna fall somewhere in that $1-2 B range.

It's possible that Vegas or Nashville could be the next Nats I suppose -- DC has never been an easy market to crack before and it has a pretty transient population of people who didn't grow up there and nearby competition. But they will more likely be the next Rox or DBacks (or worse). Still, Tampa can't really do any worse and something has gone wrong in Oakland (although I too suspect that is mostly poor ownership, marketing, etc.) so those might be perfectly good relocation destinations. But you want a MLB franchise worth multiple billions -- you need to dominate a big market (preferably having it to yourself) or, in the case of Mets and Angels, be in a market so big it doesn't matter ... or be the Cards. ####### Cards.

This has been another \"#### I am old" Walt post.
   15. Captain Joe Bivens, Elderly Northeastern Jew Posted: June 02, 2021 at 06:38 PM (#6022182)
I once added up aggregate attendance of A's vs Giants from '68 onward. The A's outdrew the Giants until Pac Bell Park was built.

Being a dynasty near that starting point helped.
   16. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: June 03, 2021 at 06:43 PM (#6022407)
the Bay Area as a whole is weird as (it) regards the A's.

Here's a list of all the radio flagships for Oakland A's games thru the years (thanks!):

KNBR 680 - 1968-70, 1976-7
KEEN 1370 - 1971-5
KALX 90.7 - 1977 (KALX was/is the student station at Cal-Berkeley)
KNEW 910 - 1978, 1993
KKIS 990 - 1979
KFYI 1310 - 1980
KSFO 560 - 1981-92
KFRC 610 - 1994-8, 2002-5
KABL/KNEW 960 - 1999-2001, 2020-Present
KYCY/KFRC 1550 - 2006-8
KTNS 1250 - 2006
KIFR/KFRC 106.9 - 2007-8
KTRB 860 - 2009-10, 2019
KBWF/KGMZ 95.7 - 2011-8

For comparison's sake, the Giants have had exactly two flagships since moving from NY 63 years ago:

KSFO 560 - 1958-78 and
KNBR 680 - 1979-Present

(KFOG 104.5 has also carried SFG games since 2019.)

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