BOB:  Florida Stadium News

Miami survives SEC audit, gets ready to sell stadium bonds

When it comes to a new ballpark, it appears that nothing can go easily for the Florida Marlins. The latest hang up had nothing to do with the team as much as it had to do with the city of Miami. Their stadium bond issue was held up for a couple of weeks because of a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation. With the audit complete. The city now has the go ahead to begin selling $75 million in bonds so that construction of a parking site can begin.

The city had hoped to begin construction on May 1 and even with this delay, that could happen because they might pull less money from a city capital fund account then they had originally planned. By pulling out $3 million instead of $4 million, the city doesn’t have to go through the political machinations of pulling the extra money from various places.

The downside to the Trop

The public relations campaign for a new Tampa Bay Rays’ ballpark was furthered this spring when owner Stuart Sternberg proclaimed this spring that the Rays will likely have to cut their payroll next year because Tropicana Field just doesn’t produce the draw to fund a top-notch team. In a blow-by-blow account, Ray Reyes at the Tampa Tribune spells out exactly why Tropicana Field just doesn’t bring in the revenue to compete with the big boys payroll wise. Of course he also talks about how even with a new stadium, the Rays have some significant hurdles to bring in enough money to compete year after year.

Namely, the team relies more on smaller businesses because of a lack of Fortune 500 companies with headquarters in the area. Still having something a little more baseball friendly might go a long way toward keeping the Rays currently successful team in place.

AT&T Park wins green award

AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants, recently received the LEED Silver Certification for Existing Buildings, Operations and Maintenance. What this means is the AT&T Park is the greenest ballpark in the United States based on its current energy practices. Some of things that helped get AT&T Park the certification includes the installation of energy efficient compact fluorescent lighting throughout the ballpark as well as becoming the first ballpark to install a solar-energy system. They also implemented an aggressive recycling program as well as different water conservation measures.

Next in line are the Gold and Platinum certification levels. Jorge Costa, the senior vice president of ballpark operations, likened getting those certifications to winning the World Series.

Minor League Baseball touts value

I’ve touched on this subject several times, but the low cost of attending a Minor League Baseball game is going to be what helps them keep their attendance levels while the gate at MLB stadiums continues to drop. In a recent press release, it was revealed that the average MiLB game costs about $57 for a family of four and that 80 percent of the ballparks currently offer a ticket that costs $8 or less. The overall price varies on the minor league level as well as the venue. Going to a Triple-A game averages close to $68 while going to a short-season league game runs around $50.

The other huge benefit the minor leagues offer is how the teams cater specifically to the family. Many ballparks have free kids areas and it’s a lot easier to walk around and enjoy the game at the smaller venues than it is when you’re crammed in with thousands of other people at a big league game.

Dr. Charles Steinberg appointed to MLB post

When it comes to working in baseball, Dr. Charles Steinberg is a household name. He’s worked for four different teams over 34 years and his most recent job had him as the Chief Marketing Officer for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Now, Commissioner Bud Selig has appointed him the Senior Advisor for Public Affairs of MLB. His job will be to take a proactive role in developing the initiatives that impact and improve the enjoyment of fans throughout the nation and throughout the world.

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