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Hillsborough County commissioner doesn’t like the way the Bucs deal

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It isn’t just the win-loss record that separates the Tampa Bay Lightning from the Bucs.

It’s the way the teams negotiate, says Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan.

The Bucs, who are closing in on a deal to provide $100 million of improvement to Raymond James Stadium, have frustrated the council with their demands that include the right to play a second home game away from Tampa each season.

“I love the Bucs, but it’s night and day negotiating with them as opposed to dealing with the Lightning,’’ said Hagan, also a TSA board member. ”I know what’s going on — they keep changing the parameters. Something will get done, but we’re trying to figure out their real motivation.’’

The TSA has pledged $26 million in improvements for the 2017 National Championship game, but the Bucs have talked about committing much more than that.

“We’re on track to proceed with that,” Hagan told The Tampa Tribune. “I can’t talk enough about the difference between dealing with the Bucs and (Lightning owner) Jeff Vinik. That guy walks on water. He’s the real deal.’’

In a response to the team on Sept. 22, the authority said the right to play a second home game each season outside of the Bay area should be contingent upon Tampa being awarded a Super Bowl during the remaining term of the agreement, or a written agreement by Premier League soccer club Manchester United to play a match at the stadium.

The Glazer family, which has owned the Bucs since 1995, purchased Manchester United in 2005.

“They own Manchester United — why can’t we get a game here?” Hagan said. “There’s a reason why the Glazers are disliked internationally. It’s frustrating. They said the request for a second home game elsewhere was an insurance policy.”

The TSA, Hagan said, wanted to tie that request to an attendance threshold, a specific number, and if attendance fell below that number the request for a second away game would be granted.

“They said no,” Hagan said. “Winning cures everything, historically, and this market has reflected that. If the Bucs win, people will return in droves.’’

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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