Hillsborough County Commish Still Wants To Bring Rays To Tampa
Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan said that the county "should still work on bringing" the Rays to Tampa, "even if the team makes good on its idea to split future seasons with Montreal," according to O'Donnell & Ogozalek of the TAMPA BAY TIMES. Hagan yesterday said that the county is "still exploring the creation of an entertainment district in Ybor City, a venture that could include a small multi-use sports stadium as a potential future home for the Rays." Hagan: "I don’t like the split-season concept. However, if it provides an opportunity for Tampa to get back at the table with the team, to negotiate with the Rays, then it’s something we should consider." Creating an entertainment district "would need buy-in from local landowners to support setting up a Community Development District." It "would raise revenue through property taxes and a tax on food, drink and sports tickets." Hagan said that a new stadium "wouldn’t necessarily be just for the Rays," as it "could be used" by the USL Tampa Bay Rowdies as well. It "could even be a new spring training home for the baseball team." Hagan "stressed that it would not require any new taxes but could be built through a public-private partnership." It is "still unclear how any potential deal can progress" since the Rays’ contract to play at Tropicana Field through '27 "forbids the team from negotiating to play anywhere else" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 8/7).