From the Sarasota Herald Tribune:
The Cincinnati Reds want to stay in Sarasota, but team executives say $10 million is as much as they will pay for a new spring training stadium here.
The news comes a week after city commissioners demanded that the Reds increase their contribution, saying that the deal for the $54 million stadium could be dead if the team doesn’t come up with more cash.
In a letter received by city leaders Monday, Reds Chief Operating Officer John L. Allen emphasized the team’s desire to make a “long-term commitment” to Sarasota, and remained hopeful that the city would find a way to dedicate enough money to make the stadium work.
“At this point, I think the question that the city has to ask itself, ‘Does Sarasota want to have Major League Spring Training in our community?'” Allen wrote.
The proposed facility is set to be near Ed Smith Stadium, on 12th Street.
The Reds began by offering $3 million toward a new stadium, then went up to $5.9 million, and finally to $10 million last week.
“We have met the city’s wishes to increase our participation … and have doubled our commitment from approximately 10 percent to 20 percent of the estimated construction costs,” Allen wrote. “While $10 million may not seem to be a huge commitment to some, it needs to be measured in the context of the Major League Baseball industry.”
Allen went on to say that only two teams have come up with comparable contributions for spring training stadiums: the New York Yankees and the Philadelphia Phillies. And both teams were from “large market teams unlike the Reds,” he wrote.
He said that the Reds had “carefully analyzed” the contribution, and ruled that $10 million was going to be the limit.
That would leave the city’s share to be about $26 million. City staffers suggested increasing property taxes to come up with that kind of money. A half-cent tourist tax would provide an additional $15 million.
I sure hope that the Reds stay in Sarasota. I like having an A team in the FSL as we vacation in the area most summers.