St. Pete City Council (Rightly) Rejects Rays Stadium Deal

The St. Petersburg City Council rejected the mayor’s agreement with the Tampa Bay Rays that was designed to encourage the team to stay at the Trop, while also looking for a place to build a new stadium.

And rightfully so. It was a bad deal.

The agreement – which was rejected 5-3 by the council – let the team look for new stadium sites in Hillsborough County. In return, the team agreed to pay the city if it leaves before its contract at Tropicana Field expires in 2027.

Sounds good, right? Well, as the Tampa Bay Times previously explained: “Payments would be based on how many years would remain on the Trop lease if the Rays left, starting at $4 million a season until December 2018, dropping to $3 million a season from 2019 to 2022 and $2 million from 2023 through 2026.”

In other words, the Rays would only be on the hook for $52 million for the next 13 years if they walked away today – or less than a third of what the Cubs paid Jon Lester to play for six years.

The City Council was skeptical, as the Tampa Bay Times noted:

Council members, though, said the proposed compensation would not make up for the lost economic impact and expressed concern that approving the agreement would weaken the city’s legal position.

Right and right.

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