In their pitch for a new ballpark, the Tampa Bay Rays will need to offer more than $150 million as a financial contribution, according to a Hillsborough County official.
In Hillsborough County, the site that has been identified as a potential new ballpark location is in Tampa’s Ybor City. Recently, Rays owner Stuart Sternberg estimated that $150 million might be what the Rays are able to offer as their financial contribution to a new ballpark. Though he added that that number could change over time, and potentially increase if the team receives a boost in support from sponsors and business partners, he indicated that it was based off of the club’s revenue projections.
As far as Hillsborough County is concerned, the $150 million contribution should not be treated as a final number, according to county administrator Mike Merrill. In discussing potential negotiations, Merrill said that the sides will have to come to firmer financial terms as discussions unfold. More from TBO.com:
It will have to, Merrill said, who added that the county was treating the figure as an “opening number” in negotiations that will play out over the next year.
The county is operating under the assumption that a stadium will cost upward of $600 million, Merrill said, and recent history suggests its likely to be closer to $800 million.
“To that extent, $150 million doesn’t really— it’s part of it, but it’s not what they’ll need,” Merrill said.
“Until we can sit across the table and agree on a price and talk about the other pieces, folks shouldn’t really be grabbing onto anything as the final number.”
The Rays have been working for years to replace Tropicana Field, which is located in St. Petersburg. Though Sternberg has recently expressed some enthusiasm for Ybor City, he has not yet ruled other options, including remaining in St. Petersburg. A previously-approved agreement with the City of St. Petersburg allows the team to canvass the Tampa Bay region for a new ballpark until January 2019.
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