Yesterday afternoon, the Tampa Bay Rays along with their architectural and planning consultants provided a first look at a new stadium planned for Ybor City.
The announcement was covered by local media and received some national attention as well.
A review of media coverage suggests that both the modern, fan-friendly design and the high price tag were the main focus, with the stadium’s relatively small seating capacity (just over 28,000 with an additional 2000 standing room tickets available) another point of discussion.
The Tampa Bay Times had extensive coverage, with baseball and politics/news reporters and columnists all sharing their perspectives. They outline some of the stadium’s key features and offer quotations from the political leaders present, which seem to largely be along the lines of “looks great, but we’re not committing anything just yet.” Marc Topkin’s focus was on the baseball field, noting that it would be a big park built to favor the defense-pitching emphasis of the typical Rays roster. John Romano wrote about how consensus might be built to fund the stadium. We’ve been here before, he notes, and failed to support a Tropicana Field replacement on the St. Pete waterfront. Since that time, the price tag has only gone up.
Noah Pransky, reporting for WTSP, included some information about stadium features, but turned a critical eye to the lack of details about financing. His report was the only one to note that Ken Hagan, the Hillsborough County commissioner who has spearheaded this project for the county government, was not at the event. Indeed, only two of the seven commissioners were present. As the county government will be an important actor in any public financing plan, their support will be crucial if the Rays are to realize their goal.
Neil DeMause, whose Field of Schemes blog tracks sports facility projects and the various ways they seek public support, wrote about the stadium design while also expressing shock that the team claimed to have no “thoughts” about financing.
Other media coverage comes by way of Twitter. Jared Diamond covers baseball for the Wall Street Journal and attended the big reveal
Only 28,000 regular seats. The right move. As I’ve said a million times, I still believe that the Tampa Bay market can support baseball in the right situation. https://t.co/bxPv7ASCVw— Jared Diamond (@jareddiamond) July 10, 2018
Eric Deggans, NPR’s TV critic who happens to be a local, is glad he’s not paying:
So...the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team have proposed a new $892 million stadium in Tampa but "don't really have those answers" on who is paying for what. Makes me glad I live in St. Petersburg: https://t.co/9o7kBF6QWz— Eric Deggans at NPR (@Deggans) July 10, 2018
You can see other stadium plan photos and details here.