After the recession temporarily derailed discussions about building the Tampa Bay Rays a new ballpark, area chambers of commerce have joined forces in recent months to study financing options for the team.
Chambers in Tampa and St. Petersburg have created the Baseball Stadium Financing Caucus, according to the St. Petersburg Times.
The caucus has looked at the financing plans of other ballparks, and heard from a local economist who believes public support of such facilities is not sound, the paper said.
“I’m looking at, how do you finance things like this? How do you structure the financing?” said Jeff Hearn, a senior vice president at St. Petersburg-based Raymond James & Associates Inc. who heads up the caucus.
Hearn and others said the caucus is not looking at where the new stadium might be located, which had become an issue between the two cities.
The Rays insist that their current ballpark is unsuitably large and fails to draw enough fans. The team has a contract through 2027 to play in Tropicana Field, a domed stadium in St. Petersburg.