With the Tampa Bay Rays being eliminated from the postseason last night, all eyes will shift to the club in terms of how they handle payroll in the offseason, and further out, whether there’s an ability to sustain themselves in Tropicana Field.
While regional relocation seems the most logical, the idea of having an MLB club relocating out of their current market to untapped locations is, once again, bubbling to the surface.
Today on FanGraphs, I examine the difficulties in relocation and how that ties in with San Antonio’s “SA202” effort (see Rays Lose ALDS, San Antonio Dreams the Pipedream). As I write:
San Antonio and, specifically, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff has longed to bring Major League Baseball to the market. In 2006, Wolff chased another Florida club (the Marlins) who were – as is the case with the Rays now – chasing a stadium deal in South Florida. At that time, the plan was extending hotel and car-rental taxes to pull in approx. $200 million. The problem was that the estimated cost for the stadium was $310 million. The assumption was that the Marlins would pick up the rest of the tab. Knowing now how the Marlins operate (see: pulled $29 million in profits the year they asked for hundreds of millions to pay for their new stadium set to open in 2012), it was no surprise that they never moved on San Antonio’s bid. Besides, it was likely nothing more than a leveraging ploy as the Marlins also took to visiting Portland at one point.
Now, San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros, along with Judge Wolff, is looking into bringing another pro sports franchise to the market through an initiative called “SA2020”. Within this long-term look at how to grow San Antonio’s profile, the city is doling out approx. $50,000 for a feasibility study for pro sports. With the efforts made prior in 2006, fans and media have begun connecting the dots and saying, “Can San Antonio support Major League Baseball?”
As I go on to write, television is the largest factor in why relocation or expansion isn’t likely to occur in San Antonio. Read more to see why.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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