PDA

View Full Version : Reds done in Sarasota?



reds44
07-11-2006, 08:03 PM
http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060711/NEWS/607110436/1006/SPORTS


Reds say $10M is their top offer
City leaders want team to pay more for a new spring training stadium

By MIKE SAEWITZ



mike.saewitz@heraldtribune.com

SARASOTA -- The Cincinnati Reds want to stay in Sarasota, but team executives say $10 million is as much as they will pay for a new spring training stadium here.

The news comes a week after city commissioners demanded that the Reds increase their contribution, saying that the deal for the $54 million stadium could be dead if the team doesn't come up with more cash.

In a letter received by city leaders Monday, Reds Chief Operating Officer John L. Allen emphasized the team's desire to make a "long-term commitment" to Sarasota, and remained hopeful that the city would find a way to dedicate enough money to make the stadium work.

"At this point, I think the question that the city has to ask itself, 'Does Sarasota want to have Major League Spring Training in our community?'" Allen wrote.

It's a question that the city commissioners will have to answer next week. While city leaders were dismayed at the letter, staffers are looking at ways to either reduce the estimated $26 million cost to the city, cut down on the size of the stadium project or reach out to a private donor.

"I don't want to give up," said City Commissioner Lou Ann Palmer. "We're not 6 feet under yet. Maybe 3 feet under."

The letter was the latest piece of a difficult negotiation process on funding the state-of-the-art stadium.

"This is not good news," said Palmer, whose birthday was Monday. "It's a sad birthday for me."

City and team officials have spent three years lobbying state legislators for money toward the effort. They were finally successful this year, when Gov. Jeb Bush signed a bill that could provide $7 million for the stadium.

Coming up with the rest of the money -- and drawing up a detailed financial plan in just three months -- has been more difficult than anyone imagined.

The proposed facility is set to be near Ed Smith Stadium, on 12th Street.

The Reds began by offering $3 million toward a new stadium, then went up to $5.9 million, and finally to $10 million last week.

"We have met the city's wishes to increase our participation ... and have doubled our commitment from approximately 10 percent to 20 percent of the estimated construction costs," Allen wrote. "While $10 million may not seem to be a huge commitment to some, it needs to be measured in the context of the Major League Baseball industry."

Allen went on to say that only two teams have come up with comparable contributions for spring training stadiums: the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies. And both teams were from "large market teams unlike the Reds," he wrote.

He said that the Reds had "carefully analyzed" the contribution, and ruled that $10 million was going to be the limit.

That would leave the city's share to be about $26 million. City staffers suggested increasing property taxes to come up with that kind of money. A half-cent tourist tax would provide an additional $15 million.

Commissioners did not want to hear it. Raising taxes for a new sports stadium would be unacceptable, they said, sending staffers back to negotiate with the Reds.

"I just don't think the city is going to be able to come up with $26 million," Palmer said. "There's just no way that's going to happen."

The commissioners will discuss the deal when they meet on Monday. Pat Calhoon, the city's sports facilities manager, said staffers may have "overstated" the cost to the city. The figure of $26 million was a "worst-case scenario," and he and the finance director are looking at ways to reduce that number.

He said he's trying to see whether there are any private citizens who want to be a "major part" of the new stadium. He'll also be talking to Reds officials to see if they would accept a scaled-down project.

"We'll work feverishly at this, leading right up to Monday's meeting," he said.

Unassisted
07-11-2006, 08:16 PM
I doubt that the Reds are as close to folding up the tent in Sarasota as John Allen wants the Sarasotans to think. Unless there's something simmering in Arizona that we don't know about, there is no Plan B here.

Since a chunk of the stadium funding is coming from the state, the Guv won't make any friends around his state by having cities compete against each other to reel in a team with the promise of state funding to the victor. At the same time, I don't think the Reds will walk away from a deal that has so many dollars that aren't theirs on the table. This is mostly about the team fighting over how many of its dollars will go on that table.

Heath
07-11-2006, 09:37 PM
I'd buy Vero Beach from the Dodgers.

Red Paint is cheap.

KittyDuran
07-11-2006, 10:03 PM
I'd buy Vero Beach from the Dodgers.

Red Paint is cheap.That'll be nice... time for the Dodgers to go to AZ...[tho' didn't they just extended their lease in Vero Beach?]

KronoRed
07-11-2006, 10:04 PM
The Reds should never ever be in Arizona

It would be..not right ;)

cReds1
07-11-2006, 10:07 PM
I would love if the Reds go to Arizona. My family has always wanted to visit there. We have been to Florida. Just my personal preference of course. :D

gm
07-11-2006, 11:00 PM
I would love if the Reds go to Arizona.

Road trip!

jmcclain19
07-12-2006, 02:45 AM
Awesome.

Spring Training Party at my house

http://z.about.com/d/geography/1/0/t/D/az2.JPG

redsmetz
07-12-2006, 07:44 AM
The Reds should never ever be in Arizona

It would be..not right ;)

While I know some of the clubs in the east are in Arizona now (Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland), I believe it would be a bad business move for the Reds. The three clubs noted above are all a good 250 to 450 miles further from Florida than Cincinnati. A Tampa or a Sarasota is between 1200 and 1400 miles from those citys. It's just around 1000 miles from Cincinnati, no more than a two day trip, although there are folks that will share driving and drive straight through. That's not going to happen in Arizona.

jmcclain19
07-12-2006, 01:01 PM
While I know some of the clubs in the east are in Arizona now (Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland), I believe it would be a bad business move for the Reds. The three clubs noted above are all a good 250 to 450 miles further from Florida than Cincinnati. A Tampa or a Sarasota is between 1200 and 1400 miles from those citys. It's just around 1000 miles from Cincinnati, no more than a two day trip, although there are folks that will share driving and drive straight through. That's not going to happen in Arizona.

You know I've heard this argument made several times on this board and I'm still not buying it.

Mapquest tells me from Cincy to Phoenix is around 1850 miles. About the same distance it tells me it is from Chicago to Phoenix.

Phoenix & Tucson regularly becomes Chicago South with Illinois residents during March.

If people are going to go to spring training, they are going to go. Even if it was in Mexico City.

Eric in IL
07-12-2006, 01:31 PM
Josh is right. It wouldn't be as bad of business move as some might think. I met up with Josh at a Reds/D-Backs in Phoenix last season and was amazed at the number of Reds fans in attendance. Also, many Midwesterners would definitely be looking to travel to AZ in March. I would definitely love to come visit agan!

KittyDuran
07-12-2006, 02:08 PM
I'd be all over AZ if I had relatives in the area. A lot of my Dad's family is in FL (all over).

Caseyfan21
07-13-2006, 12:47 AM
Dayton to Phoenix is 1900 miles (I would know having driven it a few weeks ago). Having spent now a month out here I think it would be great if the Reds did move out here. It seems like there are other spring training facilities all over and the weather is always dryer than Florida. Personal preference, though, would be to see the Reds stay in Florida. Florida is a more manageable trip for a spring break situation and although I'm sure I'll have a lot of friends out here by the end of the summer I'd still find it easier to go to Florida.

jmcclain19
07-13-2006, 04:01 AM
Josh is right. It wouldn't be as bad of business move as some might think. I met up with Josh at a Reds/D-Backs in Phoenix last season and was amazed at the number of Reds fans in attendance. Also, many Midwesterners would definitely be looking to travel to AZ in March. I would definitely love to come visit agan!

Eric! - Good to see you buddy - Long time no chat - I always tell you that you need to post more :)

You and your wife are always welcome out here to stay with us - Reds Spring Training Road Trip 2008?

Heath
07-13-2006, 08:35 AM
It's those 10pm spring training starts that I wouldn't like. I like March's 1:05pm starts with my radio on in the office.

I guess 10pm starts would be getting ready for the Western swing.

Put me down for Florida. Sorry Arizona. It's selfish. I'm in Kitty's boat. I can go to Florida, meet some relatives and use a day as an excuse to head to Sarasota.

REDREAD
07-13-2006, 09:10 AM
I can't wait until Allen finally gets canned (Hopefully at the end of this year), so I don't have to read any more of his quotes.

More of his whining that the Reds are a small market, yet he's not shy about making big market demands to upgrade all the facilities in Sarasota. I can't believe the clubs get Florida cities to spend so much on "state of the art facilites" that are used for 6-8 weeks per year.

The Reds are going to end up looking pretty dumb if Sarasota holds its ground. I'm sure there's somewhere else the Reds could go, but it's not likely to be any better where they are now (and in fact might be worse).

RBA
07-13-2006, 10:08 AM
I don't see more advantages of not trying to get the best deal possible for the Reds. The Dodgers, Cubs, White Sox, etc make their money on high rollers who can afford first class accomadations/flights. Who can splurge on spring training vacations. Face it Reds fans. This is a Have's and Have Not economy. The top of the haves can spend more money attending one spring training game than the have nots can spend in one year of games.

I believe the Reds can make money if they put package deals that include flighs, tickets, food, accomadations, side trips, golf outings, etc. Not much money is being made in Florida by the fans that travel down by car and stay at a relative's house. The money is made by high rollers and corporate business spending the "haves' money.

The Reds should explore Arizona, which happens to be one of the fastest growing areas in the country.

You might be suprised by how many former Ohio, Cincinnati, Mid-West residents there are in Arizona and all over the southwest. There is nothing in the Colorado River water that is causing more fertility and population growth; people moved here from somewhere else and they aren't all from Mexico.

JaxRed
07-13-2006, 10:23 AM
"I believe the Reds can make money if they put package deals that include flighs, tickets, food, accomadations, side trips, golf outings, etc. Not much money is being made in Florida by the fans that travel down by car and stay at a relative's house. The money is made by high rollers and corporate business spending the "haves' money"


Except in Florida, you can get the High Rollers.. AND the folks that travel down by car.