Neither Tampa nor St. Petersburg holds an advantage when it comes to funding a new Tampa Ray Rays ballpark, as a study indicates existing revenue streams in both cities could be tapped without residents facing a tax increase.
The Baseball Stadium Finance Caucus, a joint effort of the St. Petersburg and Tampa chambers of commerce, set out to study the financial feasibility of a new Rays ballpark somewhere in the greater Tampa Bay area, without coming down on the contentious issue of where a such a facility would be located — though, at the end of the day, the group encouraged the Rays to seek a solution with St. Pete and Pinellas County.
The study begins with an assumption that a new ballpark would cost $500 million (including $100 million for a retractable roof, but not including land and infrastructure costs) — a reasonable assumption given how much recent ballparks have cost. The study then made some other financial assumptions (a ballpark would be financed with 33-year, long-‐term fixed-rate bonds, requiring total revenues of $25-$55 million) and factored in $150 million coming from the Rays; again, neither are unreasonable assumptions.
With these assumptions in hand, the caucus then looked at funding options in both Hillsborough County (Tampa) and Pinellas County (St. Petersburg). In St. Pete, the current tax-revenue stream paying for Tropicana Field could go over to a new ballpark and then be augmented by a number of smaller state and local axes combined into a ballpark revenue stream (5th Cent Tourist Development Tax, State Revenue Sharing, Pro Sports Facilities, First
Florida Governmental Financing. etc.). In Tampa, the same plan would take place: smaller state and local taxes could be combined into a ballpark revenue stream (Tourist Development tax, Community Investment tax). One slight advantage for Hillsborough County here: the “opportunity costs” (that is, revenues that could potentially take away from current or future Bay Area Programs) are lower for Tampa than for St. Petersburg.
However, there’s one big hurdle in both municipalities: voters would need to approve the shift of tax revenues in both counties.
The results of the study were revealed at a press conference today.
RELATED STORIES: Poll: St. Pete voters opposed to public financing of new ballpark; Foster: We won’t allow Rays to talk new ballpark in Tampa; Experts: St. Petersburg should worry about making Rays deal now, not damages down the road; St. Pete ratchets up legal threats over new Rays ballpark; Is a business park the best place for a Rays ballpark?; More land assembled for new Rays ballpark?; Rays propose ballpark talks after Trop situation worked out; Abundance of riches: Another new ballpark pitched for Rays; LeClair unveils intriguing ballpark plan for Rays; Rays: We’ll listen to St. Pete ballpark pitch; Letter: Rays can talk new ballpark — but only for St. Pete location; Ballpark pitch will be heard by St. Pete — but officials will not respond; Parking huge issue for proposed Rays ballpark site; Pinellas County, private investor want to pitch Rays, St. Pete on ballpark plan; Rays: We’ll talk new ballpark with Hillsborough County; Hillsborough County: Nothing legally bars us from talking new ballpark with Rays; Newly available land parcel could bring downtown Tampa ballpark — maybe; Immigration funds eyed for new Rays ballpark; Oakland contemplates foreign investments to help fund A’s ballpark; Hillsborough County ready to make run at new Rays ballpark; Rays: Prove to us Tampa Bay can support baseball; Could this be the year for a new Rays ballpark?; Regional ballpark authority pitched for Tampa Bay; Mayor, council differ on approach to Rays ballpark issue;Tampa: We could have $100M for new Rays ballpark; Yet another group seeks to break Rays ballpark logjam; St. Pete mayor: there’s nothing wrong with the Trop; Tampa, St. Pete business leaders combine forces for new Rays ballpark; Could Rays declare bankruptcy to escape Trop lease?; Tampa Sports Authority declines to participate in Rays ballpark talks — for now; Chamber to take up Rays ballpark cause; Pinellas County extends hotel tax — but not enough for new Rays ballpark; Selig still “concerned” about Rays ballpark situation; Pinellas County mulls hotel-tax extension for new Rays ballpark; Rays: No, we’re not interested in limiting ballpark search to St. Pete; Can Tampa Bay support MLB?; St. Pete officials now say Trop is replaceable — at a price; Potential new player emerges in Rays ballpark battle; Rays: Time to talk new ballpark again; Rays ballpark brawl: Tampa versus St. Pete; Three Rays ballpark sites recommended by committee; New Rays ballpark discussion shifts to Tampa;Group: Any new Rays ballpark needs retractable roof; Group: Renovating Trop isn’t option in keeping Rays; Rays task force may have prelim recommendations by June — but no site
Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at email@example.com.
Are you a subscriber to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter? You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.