Over the last few years the Bucs and the Tampa Sports Authority (TSA) have been steadily making improvements to Raymond James Stadium. From new jumbo screens to new club amenities Ray Jay’s face lift has been working towards one thing: the Super Bowl. Despite a documented history of cities taking a net loss in revenue when hosting a Super Bowl, Tampa Bay finally landed the rights to host their next Super Bowl in 2021. Despite being 20 years old.
The current trend has been awarding host cities that have built new stadiums. While the Bucs and TSA don’t plan on building a new stadium anytime soon, they kept pace with other contenders by promising big upgrades and all the great amenities Tampa Bay has to offer. As a result the Bucs have spent 100’s of millions of dollars on upgrades over yearly installments the last few years. Which has put the Tampa Bay tax payer on the hook to absorb a good portion of that cost under their standing agreement with the Bucs.
Now the $850M+ new Rays stadium is planned to be built in Ybor City, and one could wonder if the city could afford to finance both. If not, does this put future improvements to Ray Jay in jeopardy? The short of it, in my opinion, is no. Yes the bulk of the new Rays stadium cost will probably fall on the Tampa Bay taxpayer, and it will probably be reflected by a higher sales tax or something similar.
I would be surprised though if it threatens the city’s commitment to host the Super Bowl in 2021 or any future plans for Ray Jay. As when a city hosts a Super Bowl it typically involves general city upgrades as well, and despite that I believe they are pretty locked into their plans for 2021. It also seems unlikely that TSA wouldn’t help fund any future improvements too given precedent. Now I am all for fiscal restraint when it comes to government at any level, but history proves that it is not very likely to happen.
So rest assured Bucs fans Ray Jay is in good hands for now.