SBD/December 28, 2012/Facilities

Residents Weigh In On Rays Stadium Options, Selecting Current Trop Site As Best

Tropicana Field garnered only 42% support from Pinellas County residents
The Rays' “single most popular stadium option is simply to keep the team playing at Tropicana Field,” according to a recent telephone survey of 521 Pinellas and Hillsborough residents cited by Stephen Nohlgren of the TAMPA BAY TIMES. Much of this sentiment “stems from fear that public money would have to underwrite any new stadium.” Survey respondents “opposed that idea 50 percent to 41 percent -- even if their own taxes were unaffected.” The survey's margin of error “is 4.3 percentage points overall and about 6 percentage points for a single county.” Considerable stadium speculation this year “focused on downtown Tampa.” But the “hometown folks aren't keen on the idea,” as only 16% of Hillsborough residents “want a stadium there.” Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, downtown Tampa's “biggest booster,” said of the current location in St. Petersburg, "Certainly the status quo is the safe position, which is why the numbers at the Trop are what they are. But that's not a realistic solution. Clearly, the Rays don't want to be there. The business model doesn't work, so I don't know that that's even available as an option.” Nohlgren noted the survey results “closely mimicked a similar Times poll taken last December.” The only “statistically significant shift from last year's sentiment came from how Pinellas residents view Tropicana Field.” In ‘11, 50% listed Tropicana Field “as their favored site, down from 54 percent in 2010,” compared to this year’s survey where “Pinellas support for the Trop dropped to 42 percent” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 12/25).
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