Forbes Puts Rays on “Most Likely to Move” list



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I was doing my usual trolling around the Internet tonight and found and interesting articles on Now I am not in the demographic that subscribes or even knows a single thing about investments or even how to save even a dollar, but what caught my eye was the titel of a story on the front page. ” The 10 Sprots Franchises Most Likey to Move.”

It is an article talking about the limitations of the Tampa Bay Rays and thier stalled stadium situation is choking the financial life out of our franchise. It then goes on to mention that the Rays might be “ripe for the picking” and could be moved to another locale.  Here is a short example of the article:

“Based on franchise valuations, revenue and attendance trends over the past few years, the most stagnant team businesses – those with the greatest likelihoods of hitting the road at some point – are those stuck in outdated arenas and stadiums. While market size drives local sponsorship deals and TV money, souped-up venues that drive revenue through high ticket prices, luxury suites and corporate packages are the order of the day. You don’t have that, you’re not in the game.”

The article goes on to state that the Rays have been at or near the bottom of the league in attendance for a decade, thanks in part to the dreary stadiums they call home. Sports marketing experts call  Tropicana Field a “major impediment” to success. Even a Rays World Series title this year, which is entirely possible, is unlikely to keep the franchise from bolting if voters don’t approve the team’s public-private offer for a new waterfront home in St. Petersburg.

I am wondering where this Forbes team got their information first and foremost. The Rays current owner, Stu Sternberg has publicly said he hopes for a substantial increase in the attendance next season. But you have to admit that will be more vested in the team playing better baseball and the playoff appearance this season for the Rays should generate a buzz in the community and rebound the tickets sold for 2009.

Also interesting is the fact that the article does not mention the possible lawsuits and financial penalties of the team leaving before it has fulfilled the contract it currently has with the City of St. Petersburg. There is about 20 plus years still left on the iron-clad contract, and the pther city will have to pony up a considerable amount of money before the team can even entertain such an adventure.

But some people have found it interesting that the team’s current logo is basically a sunburst, or ray of light instead of the original stingray cousin the franchsie was born with in 1997. Considering that the team has been promoting the “burst” on everything from shirts to uniforms, you can see that the team is pulling away from the marine life, and moving towards a more futuristic or even solar exsistance for the team.

Also not mentioned in the article is the fact that the stadium issue is not dead, but sleeping in suspended animation right now while the entire group rebounds and considers other options to the present plan set by the waterfront area of St. Petersburg. People in Tampa have grumbled and groaned for years that the city should build a ballpark in their county and propose a move by the team.

But considering that the city of Tampa and Hillsborough county are still paying for two stadiums in their area (Raymond James and the St. Petersburg Times Forum), plus the added expense of recent additons and planned building for the Florida State Fairgrounds, both governmental agencies are tapped out for the next 10 or so years.

I do not see any quotes or even mention of anyone talking with the team’s front office, so these suggestions of a move might be a subconscious attempt of Forbes to stir the pot and see what rises in Tampa Bay. I am sure that the team might have had thoughts of moving at one point, and might have those discussion in-house in the future, but as of tonight I think the team’s management is celebrating with the players’ on a spectacular run in this years ALCS series.

This story to me seems a bit out there and nottally factual at this time and could just be a opinion with a minimum amount of factual backing. This team is rising high right now with their recent victories and future aspirations. To bring something like this to light now is a bit irresponsible, or might be a genius way of making you go……..Hmmmmmmmmmmmm?

Facts taken from Forbes article:

Tampa Bay Rays


Value: $290 million (29/30)
Value three years ago: $176 million (30/30)
Per-game attendance 2008: 22,259 (26/30)
Per-game attendance, three-year average: 17,820 (28/30)
Market size: 2.7 million (No. 19 nationally)

“As the Rays rocketed to first place this year, attendance rose too–all the way to 26th in the league from 29th. To replace the eyesore that is Tropicana Field, owner Stu Sternberg has proposed a public-private 34,000 seat stadium on the waterfront. If voters don’t go for it, even a World Series championship is unlikely to save baseball in Tampa.”

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