New Rays stadium talks: team releases statement on St. Pete's possible amendment to contract

11:51 AM, Feb 6, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PETERSBURG, Florida - After councilman Charlie Gerdes proposed an amendment to St. Petersburg's contract with the Tampa Bay Rays that would allow the team to explore possible stadium sites in Hillsborough County in exchange for an annual $1.4 million payment, the Rays released their first statement on the proposal:

"We are pleased that the council is taking up this issue," said Rays Vice President Michael Kalt in a statement through a team spokesperson.  "We appreciate that Councilman Gerdes has brought it up for discussion. It is going to take a number of conversations to help move this along, and we look forward to greater collaboration with St. Petersburg."

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Gerdes' proposal is unlikely to get Mayor Bill Foster's approval for fear of losing legal leverage, but if Gerdes can find four other council votes, it wouldn't matter.  Council could break the four-year-long stadium stalemate without the mayor.

The proposed $1.4 million payment represents the annual cost to the city of St. Pete to maintain Tropicana Field.  The Rays' current use agreement with the city runs through 2027.

Council will discuss the amendment Thursday morning.

Find 10 News Investigator Noah Pransky on Facebook or follow his updates on Twitter. Read his Sports Business Blog at Shadow of the Stadium.

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