Shockingly, I was not invited to the invitation-only event. (although, it seems "nice" TV reporters, despite their station's webscript full of typos & errors - were invited)
But from the Tampa Bay Times' reporting, we learn there's a real solid core of prominent, influential, and wealthy Tampa leaders behind the effort. It was described as a "transformational" group.
I still wonder if an astute businessman like Stu Sternberg is going to all of a sudden commit hundreds of millions of additional dollars to a 30-year project just because Tampa business leaders give non-binding "commitments" to buying tickets and sponsorship deals for a few years. But what do I know?
I also have to point out the Times' lead anecdote in today's story: how CEOs like Vincent Cassidy (Majesty Title Services) used to regularly buy and distribute Rays tickets until they started going unused by the handful "about three years ago."
On one hand, Cassidy says he'd re-invest in the Rays if there was a new product his clients and associates were excited to go to.
But on the other hand, he apparently didn't have huge trouble giving away tickets to Tropicana Field, all the way on the other side of that enormous bridge, just a few years back.
So did Tropicana Field all of a sudden become unbearable?
Did the Howard Frankland Bridge all of a sudden get longer?
Or did the Rays tarnish their product so much with their self-fulfilling gloom-and-doom prophecy that Tampa Bay residents no longer think its worth their time to visit the stadium? And if that's the case, are we really just spending $800 million to make the Rays cool again for some unknown period of time?
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