Merry Christmas to Tropicana Field, which got a nice little gift in yesterday’s Tampa Bay Times (notes the Shadow of the Stadium blog): new poll numbers that indicate fans might actually be OK with the Rays’ current stadium arrangement.
A recent Tampa Bay Times, Bay News 9 and AM 820 News Tampa Bay telephone survey of 521 Pinellas and Hillsborough residents showed that the single most popular stadium option is simply to keep the team playing at Tropicana Field.
Even among Hillsborough residents, the Trop remains the favored site.
Much of this sentiment stems from fear that public money would have to underwrite any new stadium. Survey respondents opposed that idea 50 percent to 41 percent — even if their own taxes were unaffected.
The results are similar to previous Times polls that show Pinellas residents don’t really want a new stadium while Hillsborough residents would love to have one closer to them…as long as they didn’t have to pay for it.
Tampa Mayor – and downtown stadium advocate – Bob Buckhorn told the paper that the poll doesn’t reflect what’s best for the team or the region.
Certainly, he’s got a point that taxpayers seldom support tax increases. But I don’t know what evidence Buckhorn cites for his comment that the Rays’ “business model doesn’t work” since the only news we’ve seen on the team’s bottom line indicates increasing profits.
Either way, the Rays haven’t been able to move the needle much in terms of community support for a new stadium. But then again, it may not be necessary if they can line up the right elected officials to support the cause.