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Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn Responds to Rays Stadium Deal

"Let the fun begin."

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

In a news conference this afternoon, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn responded to the new deal submitted by the Rays and St. Petersburg to the City Council of St. Pete.

Buckhorn described his excitement, reiterating his belief that downtown Tampa is an ideal location for a successful business model and Rays baseball. He was also quick to say the Rays have to come to the table with cash, not just interest.

There is approximately $100 million is Taxable Incremental Financing available to the Rays if they build in the Urban Development core of downtown Tampa, and opportunities for bonds or possibly tourism taxes, like a surcharge on car rentals or hotel stays, but I would imagine anything short of half the cost will push Tampa away.

Buckhorn also reiterated a recent mantra we've heard, that the land being purchased by Jeff Vinik around Channelside is not intended to be for a baseball stadium. That assertion can be called into question when you consider Vinik's business partners are the same guys who built Coors field in Denver, so that may simply be an early negotiating posture.

Any way you slice it, Buckhorn is enthusiastic that Tampa is a city that desires a baseball team, putting himself in contrast to the St. Pete city council, who denied a new Rays stadium back in 2008.