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Cost of running The Trop for St. Pete: at least $7.3M annually

Tampa Bay RaysBesides the $6 million in annual debt service, it costs the city of St. Petersburg at least a million more annually to host the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Explain to us again why the city is so eager to keep the Trop and block the Rays from a new ballpark, because the existing numbers make no sense.

For St. Pete, the Rays are a money pit. The totals are detailed here, but some highlights:

  • Because of the Florida location, yearly insurance premiums are tremendous: $2.2 million two years ago, $1.7 million last year. One can home Miami budgeted enough for the new Marlins ballpark.
  • A mediocre naming-rights deal with Tropicana yielded $1.38 million for the team and the city, but the city’s portion was only $167,000.
  • With attendance in 2010 only at 1.9 million, the city made $984,000 in their chunk of ticket revenues.
  • Overtime police costs were pegged at $708,000.

There’s one lesson here: nothing ended up as folks expected in 1995, when the original lease was struck with original Rays owner Vince Naimoli.

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