Today the Tampa Bay Rays unveiled their plans for a new stadium. Stunning visuals and amenities wowed fans, but the $892 million price tag also came as a huge shock. Now the question is this- can the Rays really make this fantasy stadium happen? We spoke with Rays 2020 Business Chair Matt Griffin, who is optimistic about the situation, and says it will be a game-changer for the MLB. On the other hand, 10 News Investigative Reporter Noah Pransky is skeptical as to if this can actually get done.
KEY TAKEAWAYS- Matt Griffin:
- The numbers support that this community loves the Rays, so if built in an area closer to the city, attendance should skyrocket. Ybor City is the perfect location because of its proximity to downtown.
- Despite the potential move, St. Pete is still very involved in the process. This stadium would be a "regional treasure" beneficial to the entire Bay area.
- Transportation is a major challenge everywhere in Tampa, this stadium would be no different. However, there are alternatives to driving- you can take a water taxi or personal boat to a baseball game and travel by water, and ride-sharing is a popular option.
- The key to making this happen is developing a private sector solution, which Griffin says is happening behind the scenes. There are lots of financial commitments from businesses and individuals.
- Griffin hopes and expects much more than $150 million in funding to come from the Rays, but the business community also has to do their part to show their commitment through corporate support.
- For more information and to sign the petition to bring the Rays to Tampa, go to TampaBayRays2020 .com
KEY TAKEAWAYS- Noah Pransky:
- Rays are in the same place they were 10 years ago- they have a park they want to build but don't have the money to do it.
- Bob Buckhorn calls this project a "want" not a "need".
- Hillsborough County doesn't have the money to build this stadium, the Rays would need to come to the table with a lot more money to see this happen. Right now they have proposed $150 million.
- The Tampa Bay Rays have 5 1/2 more months on their St. Pete contract, at this end of this they must have a final decision because St. Pete needs to redevelop with or without them.
- Rays need serious commitments from the private sector, as well as specific tax revenues to be able to really consider this as a possibility.