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Tampa Bay Ray's new ballpark

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^ That has been floating around for a few months, I jsut wonder how much of reality it will become. The Rays are in 1st place in all of baseball and still can't draw a crowd. I Know Tropicana is horrible, but I think if the fans were coming, the team was good, the owner would be ready to invest a lot more and so would Tampa Bay. I watched a video a little time ago about how it will be right on the harbor, its a great and unique stadium, and with the new look and improving team it might be a great reality.

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The problem with the Rays is they play in St. Pete. and the flawed demographics baseball used to award the Bay area a team. They looked strictly at the existing population figure and TV market numbers. Normally that makes sense but, the Tampa Bay area is one of the most over saturated sports markets in the country. Tampa is a pretty good sports town, but the Rays play across the Bay in St. Pete., 35 minutes and a lot of traffic away. The demographics of the Pinellas County area is a large population of poor minorities and a large population of very elderly people who do not go to baseball games. I mean very elderly. I think Pinellas County has the largest concentration of people over 80 in the country. Tampa should have football and hockey. The Orlando area should have been awarded a baseball team to go along with basketball and the markets would both be doing well. The Bay area is over served and the Orlando area is under served. Baseball will eventually make it in the Bay area because it is still growing, but it is going to take a generation or two to build a substantial following. Tampa / St Pete is the 13th largest TV market because there isn't another large market North or South of the cities. They have a big market population wise, but geographically it is spread so far that many people considered to be in the market are too far away to reasonably drive to a game on any given night. Orlando has 300,000 less households in the 19th largest tv market, but a much younger, and slightly more affluent population, all located closer to the center of the geographic area. Not to mention over 40,000,000 visitors a year. Orlando is also one of the most under saturated sports markets. It would have made for a better fit, but this is an old argument.

The attendance at the Rays games, despite finally having a good team, will still only be high when the Yankees and Red Sox are in town.

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The problem with the Rays is they play in St. Pete. and the flawed demographics baseball used to award the Bay area a team. They looked strictly at the existing population figure and TV market numbers. Normally that makes sense but, the Tampa Bay area is one of the most over saturated sports markets in the country. Tampa is a pretty good sports town, but the Rays play across the Bay in St. Pete., 35 minutes and a lot of traffic away. The demographics of the Pinellas County area is a large population of poor minorities and a large population of very elderly people who do not go to baseball games. I mean very elderly. I think Pinellas County has the largest concentration of people over 80 in the country. Tampa should have football and hockey. The Orlando area should have been awarded a baseball team to go along with basketball and the markets would both be doing well. The Bay area is over served and the Orlando area is under served. Baseball will eventually make it in the Bay area because it is still growing, but it is going to take a generation or two to build a substantial following. Tampa / St Pete is the 13th largest TV market because there isn't another large market North or South of the cities. They have a big market population wise, but geographically it is spread so far that many people considered to be in the market are too far away to reasonably drive to a game on any given night. Orlando has 300,000 less households in the 19th largest tv market, but a much younger, and slightly more affluent population, all located closer to the center of the geographic area. Not to mention over 40,000,000 visitors a year. Orlando is also one of the most under saturated sports markets. It would have made for a better fit, but this is an old argument.

The attendance at the Rays games, despite finally having a good team, will still only be high when the Yankees and Red Sox are in town.

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I read a lot of Florida sports things, and everyone is hoping the new stadium will be between Orlando and Tampa, and really serve both markets. This is the hope because they see Tampa to Orlando becomnig one mega county and really having a connection between the two will allow for the rays to locate to that type of location.

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That would seem to make a lot of sense since downtown Tampa and Orlando are only 85 miles apart, and the sprawl of their suburbs makes them about 50 miles apart. Unfortunatley most of the Tampa population lives West of the downtown area and most of the Orlando population lives Northeast of the downtown area, so it makes them seem further apart. There's also a competitive nature between Tampa and Orlando where sharing would not be a welcomed option. The Rays have played a series in Orlando each of the past two years using an 8,500 seat minor league stadium with 1,500 additional lawn seating. Both times the series was against their worst fan drawing team at home. One year it was the Rangers, the next year it was the Blue Jays I think. They doubled the price of the tickets and still sold more tickets than the average attendance at St. Pete for these teams the past few years. Average attendace was a little over 9,000, so the seats were sold out, only overflow lawn seating remained. St. Pete and Tampa already fight over the team and St. Pete won't give up having the stadium there. That makes it worse for Orlando since you drive through Tampa to get to St. Pete and it adds a good 40 minutes to the drive. I just don't think it would happen even though their management would love it because they would get two markets for the price of one.

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I agree and thought the same about them becoming the Florida Rays and relocating. That all makes so much sense.

I also agree with the bay side stadium being the most picturesque. There are a few things going on that may derail this project though. Such as land swaps, filling in part of the bay, displacing residents, etc.... It's not a done deal. If by chance it does fall through, I would expect some sort of proposal for a stadium out by the I-4 / I-75 interchange. That is still in the Bay area market, but on the Orlando side. I think the Bay area fans would scream, but that would be the best location for drawing support from both areas.

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I agree and thought the same about them becoming the Florida Rays and relocating. That all makes so much sense.

I also agree with the bay side stadium being the most picturesque. There are a few things going on that may derail this project though. Such as land swaps, filling in part of the bay, displacing residents, etc.... It's not a done deal. If by chance it does fall through, I would expect some sort of proposal for a stadium out by the I-4 / I-75 interchange. That is still in the Bay area market, but on the Orlando side. I think the Bay area fans would scream, but that would be the best location for drawing support from both areas.

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I have heard there is a traffic issue possibly with this location. It really can not handle a stadium to be there. Also, I think the best thing for Central Florida is a relocation and inclusive idea of the team. The Tampa Bay area isn't working, and the Tampa Bay name isn't working.

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You really are up to date on this.

I just heard about that too. They want to extend the interstate off shoot of 175 all the way to the proposed stadium location. That would end up taking so much property and adding so much to the cost I think it would kill it.

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Yea I used to work on a Marlins beat site, for the minor league affiliates, and I juust was able to keep up a lot with all the Florida baseball stuff. I think the rays doing so well really helps the team make serious moves. It allows them be in a situation where they can make noise and people will notice. Even if they finish in 2, or 3(which I think they might) it is a huge success for them and they are no longer the drays, they are now a new team so the name change worked out great timing wise.

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Yep. It's just like when the Buccaneers changed uniform colors, it was like a new team. Coincidence yes, but the overall perception of the team changed. Although it's still early, I think we're seeing the same thing with the Rays.

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Right now it looks like the St. Pete residents will get to vote on this in November. The city council has voted in favor once and according to polls the public wants the opportunity to vote for the stadium. However, according to the polls really just want the opportunity to vote it down. I live 2 blocks from Al Lang, the proposed future site for the Rays stadium. I like the idea of having a waterfront stadium but it seems very impracticle. The main problem I see with this proposal is parking. Now the Rays claim parking will be possible but they are counting on leasing out thousands of St. Pete parking spaces as well as getting the cooperation of every privite parking garage in downtown. (I actually recieved notice from St. Pete that my on street parking space may be leased until 2050.) I think this is an unorganized attempt being made out of despiration. I think the Rays stand a decent chance of getting their new stadium just because of the season they are having. If they can make it into the World Series I think they willget the stadium, if they don't I'm pretty confident they won't get it.

By the way, I saw a few of you mention that the name "Tampa Bay Rays" isn't working. Mayor Baker is pushing for a name change to the "St. Petersburg Rays" or something along those lines so they may change their name but probably not to the "Central Florida Rays" or the "Florida Rays."

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Right now it looks like the St. Pete residents will get to vote on this in November. The city council has voted in favor once and according to polls the public wants the opportunity to vote for the stadium. However, according to the polls really just want the opportunity to vote it down. I live 2 blocks from Al Lang, the proposed future site for the Rays stadium. I like the idea of having a waterfront stadium but it seems very impracticle. The main problem I see with this proposal is parking. Now the Rays claim parking will be possible but they are counting on leasing out thousands of St. Pete parking spaces as well as getting the cooperation of every privite parking garage in downtown. (I actually recieved notice from St. Pete that my on street parking space may be leased until 2050.) I think this is an unorganized attempt being made out of despiration. I think the Rays stand a decent chance of getting their new stadium just because of the season they are having. If they can make it into the World Series I think they willget the stadium, if they don't I'm pretty confident they won't get it.

By the way, I saw a few of you mention that the name "Tampa Bay Rays" isn't working. Mayor Baker is pushing for a name change to the "St. Petersburg Rays" or something along those lines so they may change their name but probably not to the "Central Florida Rays" or the "Florida Rays."

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I heard MLB originally wanted the team to be called the Tampa Devil Rays. St Pete balked at that since the stadium is in St Pete and that's why they are the Tampa Bay Rays now. MLB said St. Pete was too small a city to identify with a baseball team. I think they should grab the oportunity the Marlins are letting go and take the Florida name. Florida Rays makes them a regional team. I think they're crazy if they don't.

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The Rays have abandoned their effort for a new stadium.

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I would say suspended. No team ever just quits jockeying for a new stadium.

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