I admire Colin Cowherd. He is one of the few journalists who will have the courage to state a position while many of his peers stay silent, even if they agree. Cowherd has the rare gift of stating something complex in a simple, folksy kind of way. On a recent broadcast he said (of building a new bay area stadium), “That’s like having another baby to save the marriage. It doesn’t work.” (Source).
In the many years that I have been listening to Cowherd, he rarely has been incorrect in his analysis of any situation. I will even go as far as saying that Major League Baseball will never achieve a sustained success in the state of Florida. My opinion is based on more than twenty years’ worth of attendance data and as I have stated in a previous post, MLB attendance in Florida is perennially in the bottom five.
Journalists, politicians, and pundits are all convinced that with a new stadium, Major League Baseball will thrive in the bay area. I have yet to see a business person share this enthusiasm. Please point me in the direction of any business person raving about spending probably half of $700M to build a stadium so that a team goes from last in attendance at the Trop to last in attendance in a shiny new bay area ballpark.
Assuming that Mr. Cowherd and I are correct and Sternberg agrees, the Rays are doomed to move. What will become of the so-called lease at the Trop? Um, I mean the Use Agreement. There are legal opinions which state that compensation could be in excess of $200M. There is also a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will be up for St. Petersburg city council vote on December 18, putting the liability in the $20M range, allowing the Rays to explore a new stadium site in the Tampa area. By all accounts, the MOU should be adopted. If the city councillors adopt the MOU vote, Sternberg will jump for joy as he now knows St. Pete’s BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement). Simply put, this means that $20M compensation is the best that the city is hoping to get, anything above $20M is gravy. This BATNA will come in handy in the very likely event that this goes to the courts when the Rays leave before their lease expires.
Many people are congratulating the mayor for putting the MOU in place. I congratulate Sternberg for the stroke of business genius.
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