Buckhorn: "We need to start looking at other options" for Rays stadium

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In one of his most direct comments on the Rays’ Stadium Saga since taking office, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn told WTVT today that “we need to start looking at other options” after Commissioner Bud Selig once again criticized Tampa Bay’s attendance.

“If the business model doesn’t work in St. Petersburg, if the fans are not attending, if the corporations are not buying tickets, if the stadium is outdated, then something needs to change and something will change, whether we like it or not,” Buckhorn told the station.

However, as I’ve said countless times, we still have no evidence that “the business model doesn’t work.” As WTSP’s Adam Freeman reported today, the Rays are one of the league’s most profitable teams and the franchise is worth double what it was when Stu Sternberg purchased it.

“Nowhere in our agreement with the Rays has the city accepted responsibility for attendance at the Trop,” St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster told WTVT. “Per our agreement that runs through 2027, we build the house. We pay for the house and you play baseball.”

Buckhorn acknowledged that he’s “got to be careful because they have a contract,” but added that “I can’t see the Rays continuing to play in that environment with that type of fan support.”

Cross-posted from the Shadow of the Stadium blog – which you should be following for the latest news about the Tampa Bay Rays stadium.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.