Archive for the Sports Category

Who’ll pay for new Tampa Bay ballpark?

Posted in Hillsborough County, FL, Sports, taxes with tags , , on September 22, 2011 by verbumsapienti2
Rome Colosseum -- HDR Photography

Let the games begin

Here’s a thought, why not the people and corporations who would gain most from a new stadium:

1. Team owners from ticket sales

2. Players from salaries

3. Football league from advertising sales

4. Fans from entertainment value

5. Nearby property owners from increased property values

6. Nearby hotels, restaurants and retail outlets from increased sales

7. Airport from increased air travel

8. Politicians from look-look-what-I-did reelection value

9. Chambers of Commerce from see-what-a-wonderful-town-we-are economic development value

10. Media from advertising and circulation

Leave the taxpayers out of it.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Business is Business

Posted in Hillsborough County, FL, Sports with tags on February 4, 2011 by verbumsapienti2

Ya gotta love private citizens Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and his wife Penny to donate $10 million to the Lightning Foundation toward good works in the community. If more wealthy citizens offered such a hand up, fewer citizens would be asking for a hand out.

But business is business.

Hillsborough County has already promised $35 million for upgrades to the SP Times Forum. The Lightning “expects to draw that money down for ROUTINE MAINTENANCE (emphasis mine), and it is not included in the $35 million renovation plan Vinik unveiled this week.”

Graciously, Mr. Vinik says that he will make the investment regardless of any reimbursement from The County, but hopes to approach The County when the economy turns around.

But business is business.

Commissioner Mr. Hagan however is already falling all over himself lining up support to get the additional hotel tax dollars reallocated for the Forum. These are taxes collected primarily from guests staying at local hotels.

The money is used to fund the marketing of various tourist attractions which in turn generate overnight stays. Sort of a self-funding program that benefits everyone by bringing in out-of-town-over-night spenders to local businesses. This is pretty much the mission of the Hillsborough County’s Tourist Development Council (TDC).

But business is business.

Annually, the TDC awards over $12 million from tourist tax proceeds from local hotel room revenue to organizations that promote conventions, international and national visitation and related sporting events, cultural and other special venues and attractions in Hillsborough County.

As the available taxes go down, so too does the amount awarded various recipients. Some venues and attractions have had funding completely cut due to a shrinking budget. The TDC would like to give every organization the money requested.

But business is business.

The TDC rightly spends many hours in public discussions to determine the best allocation of limited promotional monies. Pretty much, the most important measure of success is the number of hotel nights generated as a result of those promotion expenditures.

Some participating organizations generate more “heads in beds” than others, so receive more TDC money. The TDC is very thorough in making this important connection between hotel taxes generated from any venue or attraction and how much TDC money they should receive.

But business is business.

This delicate balance of allocating precious TDC funding should not and cannot be influenced by the political wrangling or personal peccadilloes of anyone outside the purview of the full TDC;
in the sunshine of public scrutiny.

In the case of The Lightning, if the proportional over-night numbers are there, the TDC allocation should be there.

If not, not.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen



It is not the Times Forum that needs a makeover

Posted in Hillsborough County, FL, Sports with tags , , on January 27, 2011 by verbumsapienti2
St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa with Garrison Ch...

Wanted: $40 MILLION for a "makeover"

Why is it that Commissioner Mr. Hagan always claims he is against raising taxes, but is the first one in line to spend the limited tax dollars that do come to the County? Just how much was that “meaningful commitment”  given to Hagan by the team to improve the arena?

They are asking $40 million from the County for renovations. Oh, we want  the GOP conventioneers to love the new seats when they come to town?

Let’s hope they are colorblind, as the new seats will all be Democrat blue.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Working the Rays

Posted in Ballpark, Hillsborough County, FL, Sports with tags , , , on December 11, 2010 by verbumsapienti2

When did baseball stop being about having fun and start being
all about money?

In 1845, the Knickerbocker Club of New York City began using Elysian Fields in Hoboken to play professional baseball. Teams played for the love of the sport. Spectators came to watch for the same reason. No money changed hands.

With the construction of two significant baseball parks in Brooklyn enclosed by fences, enabling promoters there to charge admission to games, the prominence of Elysian Fields began to diminish and with it a diminished love of baseball for for the sake of baseball.

Professional baseball became all about money and it still is.

The arguments for building a new ballpark for the Rays include:

  • Keeping the Rays economically viable
  • Keeping up attendance
  • Keeping key players through higher salaries
  • Keeping a major business
  • Keeping a key contributor to the economy
  • Keeping an attractor for new business in the area

No one is talking about keeping major league baseball in the Tampa Bay area as a fun thing to just go and watch.

You can find the love of baseball and not the love of money in municipal parks, sand lots and quite streets where little league, school and church leagues as well as soft ball and stick ball are played.

Let these university-scholarship-recipient baseball stars start earning a living like the rest of us in our day-jobs and just go out on weekends and evenings to play and watch the game of baseball simply for the sake of baseball.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen