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View Full Version : Is future of Twins Spring Training in Ft Myers suddenly in doubt?



Jim Crikket
08-16-2012, 05:59 PM
A few weeks ago, the Twins and Lee County FL officials announced a long term extension of the Twins' lease for Hammond Stadium and the Lee County Sports Complex, contingent on agreement on something like $45 million in needed updates for the complex. While there have been some articles lately citing some differences over who might have naming rights to the stadium, it seemed like a deal was never really in doubt.

But has that changed this week?

The most senior, and arguably most ST-friendly, member of the Lee County Commission, has lost in his party's primary election and his support of stadium deals for MLB teams (the Red Sox got a new complex and the county is negotiating with the Nationals to move to the county, in addition to the Twins' deal) was apparently a major cause of his primary loss.

http://www.news-press.com/article/20120816/NEWS0107/308160029/0/TEXTMESSAGING/Lee-County-s-baseball-future-line-after-commissioner-voted-out?odyssey=nav|head (http://www.news-press.com/article/20120816/NEWS0107/308160029/0/TEXTMESSAGING/Lee-County-s-baseball-future-line-after-commissioner-voted-out?odyssey=nav%7Chead)

Suddenly, the certainty of the improvements to the complex is questionable.

The article points out that the Twins' existing lease runs through 2020 anyway, even without the new extension. However, what the article fails to mention is that the original lease also requires Lee County to maintain the facility to a level that is comparable to the top X number (I forget the exact number) of ST facilities in Florida. By no measure is Hammond Stadium among the better facilities at this point. Just among those I've been to in the past 3 years, I'd say the Phillies (Clearwater), Yankees (Tampa), Red Sox (Ft Myers), Rays (Port Charlotte), Mets (Port St Lucie) and Orioles (Sarasota) have better facilities. The Pirates also have negotiated a remodeling of their stadium in Bradenton. I haven't been to the Tigers ballpark in Lakeland, but it was remodeled in 2003 and I hear it's very nice. That will leave only the Blue Jays (Dunedin) among teams on the Gulf side of FL as having a facility clearly below what the Twins call home in March.

It will be interesting to see how this unfolds in Ft Myers and whether the Twins play hardball with Lee County.

IdahoPilgrim
08-16-2012, 06:11 PM
At one of the games I attended, some young men were sitting a few seats over, and during their conversation the topic of the Twins requests came up. Basically, they didn't think Lee County should give the Twins anything, and they seemed to mock the Twins even asking, as if they were on the same level as the Red Sox. It was an isolated conversation and may not be representative of the populace as a whole, but it did get my attention.

Thrylos
08-16-2012, 06:23 PM
Yeah, I saw that article and all I got to say it that it is all about votes :)

JC, Both you and I know that the Twins are bringing mucho dineiro to the Lee County area (heck, we both spend more than enough money in hotels, rental cars, restaurants, air tickets and related taxes there throughout the last few years.) So when the businesses start whining to the commission about it after whomever B-level politician gets voted, things will change. If I were to guestimate, the Twins bring a good 10,000 people a day during spring and a good 2-3,000 during summer into the area. And funny enough the Red Sox does not have an FSL team that acts as a employer of 200+ like the Twins do. Too lazy to analyze but I would guesstimate that the Twins are bringing at least $20-30 million a year to the Fort Myers economy (just for the privilege of holding ST there and having a high A team there...) And I am not including added ons like construction jobs.

When the push comes to shove even the most idiotic politicians will see that and they will eat their rhetoric...

Jim Crikket
08-16-2012, 06:34 PM
Thry, I suspect your figures may be a bit inflated, but your point is valid nonetheless. There is NO doubt that the Twins are a huge draw during ST. I wouldn't be surprised if the Red Sox draw better than the Twins during ST, but you're right that they don't have their Class A+ affiliate there (and, unlike the Twins, I think the Red Sox may actually own their A+ affiliate).

All of that said, never underestimate the ability of a politician to do the shortsighted, wrong thing when s/he believes votes are at stake. And when the issue can be boiled down to "spend tax $ to fund something for a big business or don't spend tax $ on a big business?" voters seldom even consider consequences.

I think the Twins will stay in Ft Myers, but I would bet money that politics are going to make this issue get ugly over the winter.

JB_Iowa
08-16-2012, 07:07 PM
The clause about keeping the facilities competitive (however it is worded) sounds like a full-employment bill for lawyers trying to enforce it. Hopefully the clause is pretty specific about how they measure comparability of facilities, etc. or it could take until 2020 just to resolve any issues.

John Bonnes
08-16-2012, 08:36 PM
It sounds from the story that the Red Sox got in while the getting was good and there ain't much left for the Twins, or at least that's how opponents are framing it. I'm a little surprised the Twins weren't working with the commission at the same time to make sure they were included in the last go-round.

gunnarthor
08-16-2012, 09:21 PM
My father in law lives just outside of Ft Myers so we've gone down there a few times for spring training and then a trip to Disney World. A different city in Fl, I don't recall, lost a spring training team (I think the Mets or Dodgers) and the city actually made more money. It was a bit of big story at the time. Most of the people that go to ST are locals, so they just end up spending their money elsewhere in town. The number of out of staters doesn't always cover the cities expenses in hosting a baseball team. And Florida towns all get tons of tourists - Ft Myers area has a lot of retirees so you get family members like my family coming down anyway. So I guess that's a long-winded way of me saying I wouldn't be surprised if Ft Myers was willing to let the Twins move out and survive on the Red Sox.

Jim Crikket
08-16-2012, 09:22 PM
I did find the news story from last year where I read about that clause. The quote from the story is, "The lease also calls for the facility to be maintained at the same level as the five newest Florida spring-training facilities."

http://springtrainingonline.com/201110041549/news/twins-lee-county-to-map-out-future-of-hammond-stadium.htm

JB may be right if that's all the lease says, because it's how one judges "same level" is certainly subjective. Still, Hammond is nowhere close. If the Twins decided to play hardball and terminate their lease on that basis, I like their chances. They also have deeper pockets and can afford better lawyers.

BrentMpls
08-16-2012, 11:10 PM
It may be too far along to back out now, but it doesn't look good right now. They are locked in to 2020 I believe, but you can believe they will be out of there after that if they don't get this. Some media speculate spring training in general will be totally west coast in 10 years.

YourHouseIsMyHouse
08-17-2012, 12:20 AM
Yeah, I saw that article and all I got to say it that it is all about votes :)

JC, Both you and I know that the Twins are bringing mucho dineiro to the Lee County area (heck, we both spend more than enough money in hotels, rental cars, restaurants, air tickets and related taxes there throughout the last few years.) So when the businesses start whining to the commission about it after whomever B-level politician gets voted, things will change. If I were to guestimate, the Twins bring a good 10,000 people a day during spring and a good 2-3,000 during summer into the area. And funny enough the Red Sox does not have an FSL team that acts as a employer of 200+ like the Twins do. Too lazy to analyze but I would guesstimate that the Twins are bringing at least $20-30 million a year to the Fort Myers economy (just for the privilege of holding ST there and having a high A team there...) And I am not including added ons like construction jobs.

When the push comes to shove even the most idiotic politicians will see that and they will eat their rhetoric...

In areas like Ft. Myers, the Twins have a very large affect on the economy there, but positive one can't be too sure. Sure it is one of the biggest draws. I tend to believe that in metropolitan areas where professional sports teams are situated, that they often actually have a negative affect. Not baseball, hockey, or basketball as much since the seasons are somewhat long, but football definitely. There seems to be a belief that any sports teams' presence has a positive affect anywhere when it's occasionally untrue. People think that since before, after, and during a game, the local area pubs, bars, and restaurants get a large draw that helps them. It's true, but for football's case that happens 8 days a year when it that highly coveted city space could be used to consistently gain revenue from a business, shopping center, etc.

The professional baseball season is a lot different of course because there's 81 days where it has an aura affect on the local area. It gets tricky when you talk minor league teams like Ft. Myers. The Twins played 17 home spring training games and the Miracle will play 68 there for a total of 85 (so more there than Target Field actually). The GCL play in a different stadium in Ft. Myers obviously so they don't factor in. That looks and sounds great to have 85 aura days in a city that has maybe 100,000 people in that traveling distance. The kicker is that Hammond Stadium only holds 7,500 people and there's nothing to see there for 3/4 of the year when it's inactive. 20-30 million is iffy and probably too high a number. I really don't care what it actually is. What's important for the Ft. Myers economy to know when it comes to a deal is if that commercial property would make them more money than a shopcenter, business, etc that's active for the whole year. It clearly keeps the community happy and maybe for the sake of the city they would sacrifice if it indeed turned out be negative. It's awesome to have the Twins and Miracle in Ft. Myers and I like where the all organizations affiliates are located right now except for New Britain (who got extended unfortunately).

YourHouseIsMyHouse
08-17-2012, 12:57 AM
Oh, and not to mention that the Miracle have always been the local whipping boys in the FSL.

Cap'n Piranha
08-17-2012, 07:48 AM
Oh, and not to mention that the Miracle have always been the local whipping boys in the FSL.

That could change next year when Sano, Rosario, and Vargas are doing their thing in the Sunshine State.

Thrylos
08-17-2012, 08:38 AM
It sounds from the story that the Red Sox got in while the getting was good and there ain't much left for the Twins, or at least that's how opponents are framing it. I'm a little surprised the Twins weren't working with the commission at the same time to make sure they were included in the last go-round.

They were. The current commission voted yes to money that will be used for improvements of both Hammond Stadium and the Spring Training facilities and in turn the Twins will extend their lease for 30 years. That was done around June IIRC. Not sure whether everything was signed or what the next steps were.

This is a new guy who defeated the head of the former commission in the primary and he has been campaigning basically against spending $ for baseball. Not only the Twins but the Nats as well. He wants to negate that agreement whatever that means. My take is that it is just politics, like the same clowning that was happening up there with the Vikes' stadium...

Thrylos
08-17-2012, 09:04 AM
In areas like Ft. Myers, the Twins have a very large affect on the economy there, but positive one can't be too sure. Sure it is one of the biggest draws. I tend to believe that in metropolitan areas where professional sports teams are situated, that they often actually have a negative affect. Not baseball, hockey, or basketball as much since the seasons are somewhat long, but football definitely. There seems to be a belief that any sports teams' presence has a positive affect anywhere when it's occasionally untrue. People think that since before, after, and during a game, the local area pubs, bars, and restaurants get a large draw that helps them. It's true, but for football's case that happens 8 days a year when it that highly coveted city space could be used to consistently gain revenue from a business, shopping center, etc.

The professional baseball season is a lot different of course because there's 81 days where it has an aura affect on the local area. It gets tricky when you talk minor league teams like Ft. Myers. The Twins played 17 home spring training games and the Miracle will play 68 there for a total of 85 (so more there than Target Field actually). The GCL play in a different stadium in Ft. Myers obviously so they don't factor in. That looks and sounds great to have 85 aura days in a city that has maybe 100,000 people in that traveling distance. The kicker is that Hammond Stadium only holds 7,500 people and there's nothing to see there for 3/4 of the year when it's inactive. 20-30 million is iffy and probably too high a number. I really don't care what it actually is. What's important for the Ft. Myers economy to know when it comes to a deal is if that commercial property would make them more money than a shopcenter, business, etc that's active for the whole year. It clearly keeps the community happy and maybe for the sake of the city they would sacrifice if it indeed turned out be negative. It's awesome to have the Twins and Miracle in Ft. Myers and I like where the all organizations affiliates are located right now except for New Britain (who got extended unfortunately).

Spring training is a huge draw. I would probably estimate around 10-12,000 visitors in day at Fort Myers (including kids and families who go to the beach when dad is at the game) for about 45 days. That is about 450-500,000 visitor days. All these people eat, sleep, rent cars, fly in, buy gas, buy other staff at Lee County. Figure about $100 a person a day there (which is conservative if you include ballgame tickets and a few potables at the park), that is around $50 million of cash going to the Fort Myers economy just by visitors to spring training. And if you thing that 10-12000 are too much, if you half them (which I know is way too little), $25 million of cash is going to the Fort Myers economy just because the Twins have their Spring Training there. And those visitors do not include the Red Sox fans. I am talking just Twins people

Also, the Twins bring about 200 players and coaches and about 100 staff for ST (I do not included Hammond Field Staff). That is 300 people and with their families let's say 500. These people are there for the whole 45 days and about 200-250 of them call Fort Myers home year around (EST, GCL, Rehab etc. - and I am not talking about the Miracle yet) I suspect that at least a few more folks make their year round home at Fort Myers (including Twins' ballplayers) because this is where the Twins have their spring training. I don't know what the impact on Lee Country would be for losing 300 or so residents, but it would be something.

Add what the town gets from having a professional Minor League franchise (the Miracle is the only one), which is probably around $3-4 Million a year. High level: 68 home games by 1800 (miracle average attendance) by (let's say $30 for ticket, parking, a hot dog and a beer) is ($3.672 M). And I am not factoring in merchandise, advertising revenue by both the ball park and the radio station (which has to be another $1.5M at least), so we are looking at around $5 M impact to the economy for having the Miracle there (and I am disregarding what the players, the coaches and their families get paid by the Twins and play to eat and sleep etc)

Add what the Twins pay for their lease to the county.

Multiply all that by 30 years, the amount of the lease extension, and whatever investment the county makes is a tiny one compared to the economic impact to the county.

And most of it is because of Spring Training alone. Other areas (Orlando anyone?) Would love to have a major league team there to train just because of that.

Jim Crikket
08-17-2012, 10:03 AM
I think the Braves are still training at the Disney complex in Orlando, aren't they, Thry?

I think your 10-12,000 per day estimate on visitors for the Twins alone is high, because I know a lot of "locals" attend those ST games, not just visitors. That said, your $100/day estimate is probably low. I go down there for about a week every year and easily spend a grand. I took my wife with me this past spring and although we obviously didn't double our hotel costs, we still managed to spend over $2,000, I'm sure. (I try not to keep track, but I know I'm poorer when I get home.) My family doesn't exactly go crazy with spending when we travel, either, so I'd like to think my experience is pretty close to "average".

Regardless, I do think Ft. Myers would experience a significant economic effect if they lost the Twins at some point. In fact, it would probably lead to a similar situation that you see when large cities lose their major professional sports teams because they won't kick in for a stadium... only to have to cough up even more money a few years later to try to get a new team. If the Twins left Lee County, I'm sure the county would very quickly realize what fools they were and start trying to attract another team.

The Twins may need to give up their desire for an on-site "dorm" for their minor leaguers, though. The local hotel community is not thrilled with losing all of the hotel nights that they currently book for all of the Twins' kids in the area, especially when a good chunk of the money for the planned remodel is coming from hotel/motel taxes. Have to admit, that would rub me the wrong way, too, if I were in their shoes. Maybe that's an issue that gets tabled for a few years or the Twins would have to build that on their own dime. If they decide to do it, I'd sure wait until the ink is dry on the new agreement before announcing it, though.

From what I read, it sounds like there's nothing yet signed on the extension. They just agreed in principle on the basics of the extension and Bill Smith has been negotiating the exact terms since then. So now, the question is whether a lame duck Commission that made the agreement will rush to execute it before any new Commissioners take office next year.

YourHouseIsMyHouse
08-17-2012, 01:14 PM
I think your 10-12,000 per day estimate on visitors for the Twins alone is high, because I know a lot of "locals" attend those ST games, not just visitors. That said, your $100/day estimate is probably low. I go down there for about a week every year and easily spend a grand. I took my wife with me this past spring and although we obviously didn't double our hotel costs, we still managed to spend over $2,000, I'm sure. (I try not to keep track, but I know I'm poorer when I get home.) My family doesn't exactly go crazy with spending when we travel, either, so I'd like to think my experience is pretty close to "average".

Agree here that 10-12,000 is much too high, but the rest of the numbers were pretty conservative. Can't tell if he meant that number for a 45 day span or per day, but it does look like per day. A little confusion on the way it was phrased. 10-12,000 exceeds the stadiums capacity and you're right about locals. 5-6,000 may be a lot closer since it has to be a big thing for people living there.

Thrylos
08-17-2012, 04:48 PM
Agree here that 10-12,000 is much too high, but the rest of the numbers were pretty conservative. Can't tell if he meant that number for a 45 day span or per day, but it does look like per day. A little confusion on the way it was phrased. 10-12,000 exceeds the stadiums capacity and you're right about locals. 5-6,000 may be a lot closer since it has to be a big thing for people living there.

Agreed. But I am talking about total visitors, including the mom and the kids who go to the beach when the dad just uses one ticket of that 7500 Hammond stadium (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hammond_Stadium) tickets. Let's say that about 2,500 are local (over estimate) since Miracle draws around that much (http://tenthinningstretch.blogspot.com/2012/08/minnesota-twins-minor-league-affiliates.html). So about 5000 visitors in the stadium. So I doubled that for family members not in the stadium. If every one single, then that $100 a day doubles at least, because you have to add to about $120 for a hotel and car per day to food and tickets and stuff... But still we are talking about $25-50 million a year which will make the county break even (not in tax money but total money in the people's pockets) in the first 2-3 Seasons of the 30 year agreement. I suspect by the 15th, it will break even in taxes as well...

mlhouse
08-17-2012, 06:44 PM
I am a resident of Ft Myers and oppose such ridiculous spending on a SPRING TRAINING AND MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL FACILITY. I love baseball, I am going to a Miracle game on Tuesday, but this is just an example of how the concept of professional sports has put our economic prioriies completely out of reality. IT IS A SPRING TRAING AND MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL FACILITY. IF the improvements are so important and necessary, the users of the facility can make the improvement by themselves and then pass these costs back to their customers just like every other business.

I tell you what, the new Boston Red Sox facility is nice, but not that much nicer than Hammonds Field, and the cost to get in is exorbitant. And, in the end, for all that money, you get to watch scrubs play about 4 innings of the game. That is what Spring Training really is and frankly, I can't see how the Twins and Red Sox get away with charging so much for the tickets. But, in the end, Jet Blue stadium is only used for spring training and then sits empty for te rest of the year.

Thrylos
08-17-2012, 07:00 PM
I am a resident of Ft Myers and oppose such ridiculous spending on a SPRING TRAINING AND MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL FACILITY. I love baseball, I am going to a Miracle game on Tuesday, but this is just an example of how the concept of professional sports has put our economic prioriies completely out of reality. IT IS A SPRING TRAING AND MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL FACILITY. IF the improvements are so important and necessary, the users of the facility can make the improvement by themselves and then pass these costs back to their customers just like every other business.

I tell you what, the new Boston Red Sox facility is nice, but not that much nicer than Hammonds Field, and the cost to get in is exorbitant. And, in the end, for all that money, you get to watch scrubs play about 4 innings of the game. That is what Spring Training really is and frankly, I can't see how the Twins and Red Sox get away with charging so much for the tickets. But, in the end, Jet Blue stadium is only used for spring training and then sits empty for te rest of the year.


Tada... read above. The fact that the Twins decided to have their ST facility at Fort Myers brings about $25-50 million dollars a year in your community, which helps keep people employed. Hate to say that, but Fort Myers is not really a booming tourist destination, otherwise if you know what I mean. If they do not do it, the Twins will move to the next town and that will be that. And the unemployment rate at Fort Myers will triple.

Hammond2ndHome
08-17-2012, 08:07 PM
I am a resident of Ft Myers and oppose such ridiculous spending on a SPRING TRAINING AND MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL FACILITY. I love baseball, I am going to a Miracle game on Tuesday, but this is just an example of how the concept of professional sports has put our economic prioriies completely out of reality. IT IS A SPRING TRAING AND MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL FACILITY. IF the improvements are so important and necessary, the users of the facility can make the improvement by themselves and then pass these costs back to their customers just like every other business.

I tell you what, the new Boston Red Sox facility is nice, but not that much nicer than Hammonds Field, and the cost to get in is exorbitant. And, in the end, for all that money, you get to watch scrubs play about 4 innings of the game. That is what Spring Training really is and frankly, I can't see how the Twins and Red Sox get away with charging so much for the tickets. But, in the end, Jet Blue stadium is only used for spring training and then sits empty for te rest of the year.


Well, I also live in Ft. Myers and completely DISAGREE with the post above. ST baseball did not get put our economy in the crapper; in fact, ST baseball has been part of our community since the Royals played at Terry Park (and I am probably missing a team before them), long before the economy went downhill. For 6 weeks out of the year, ST baseball does nothing but help out local economy. I am guessing you do not work in the service industry that benefits from baseball fans descending upon Ft. Myers. I would hate to see what the local economy would have been like without Spring Training baseball!!

If you want to complain about what was spent at Jet Blue and how expensive it is, go ahead and do it on a Boston website. My opinion is that the Twins are not going anywhere, and the upgrades to the stadium are already in the works (just wait until the outfield boardwalk is complete and fans are sipping beers at either the left field or right field tiki bar!!!!).

Lastly, the Lee commissioner's votes were usually 4-1 when it came to anything S.T. related. So now with Judah gone, we can now expect 3-2 votes. What we will see is that the Nationals will most likely not be moving into the City of Palms anytime soon, but the Twins and Red Sox are here for good.

silverslugger
08-17-2012, 08:52 PM
I always find it fascinating to read and learn more about the economics of sports. One income source for the state, if not for the local economy, not talked about yet is income taxes. Anyone have any idea how that would affect the Florida economy at large and the FM economy locally? I must admit I wouldn't have a clue. I do know professional athletes pay state income taxes to several states dependant on where they are performing, correct?

Thrylos
08-17-2012, 09:02 PM
I always find it fascinating to read and learn more about the economics of sports. One income source for the state, if not for the local economy, not talked about yet is income taxes. Anyone have any idea how that would affect the Florida economy at large and the FM economy locally? I must admit I wouldn't have a clue. I do know professional athletes pay state income taxes to several states dependant on where they are performing, correct?

Income taxes will be a drop of water in the whole financial impact. Major reason: ST does not count as work so the major leaguer's income taxes do not count.

On the other hand, last time I checked, (that was like 10 years ago) FL did not have state income taxes

nicksaviking
08-17-2012, 09:12 PM
I always find it fascinating to read and learn more about the economics of sports. One income source for the state, if not for the local economy, not talked about yet is income taxes. Anyone have any idea how that would affect the Florida economy at large and the FM economy locally? I must admit I wouldn't have a clue. I do know professional athletes pay state income taxes to several states dependant on where they are performing, correct?

Income taxes will be a drop of water in the whole financial impact. Major reason: ST does not count as work so the major leaguer's income taxes do not count.

On the other hand, last time I checked, (that was like 10 years ago) FL did not have state income taxes

Florida does not have income tax. Otherwise building the stadium would be a no-brainer. Florida resident Joe Mauer would pay for it after his first filing.

Jim Crikket
08-17-2012, 10:09 PM
What we will see is that the Nationals will most likely not be moving into the City of Palms anytime soon, but the Twins and Red Sox are here for good.

I hope you're right about the last part, anyway. I really enjoy going down to Ft Myers. Then again, I also usually make a trip or two up the coast to other communities for games and they are nice, too. I'd like to see the Nationals at City of Palms, but it never made a lot of sense to me for another team to come in to a facility that wasn't good enough for the Red Sox. The same problem is going to exist (the stadium is quite a ways separated from the practice diamonds and minor league facility) that the Red Sox found problematic. That can't be fixed. That said, it would be nice to have a 3rd team in the area so more ST games would be right there in the county.

mlhouse
08-17-2012, 10:38 PM
Frankly, you miss the main point, which is SPRING TRAINING AND MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL DOES NOT NEED $45 million of taxpayer money spent on stadium improvements. Hammonds Stadium is fine just the way it is. But, our modern sports culture believes that they need to have all of the bells and whistles for "free", with the real costs borne by the taxpayers.

Here is another fact. The county still owes $20 million on the City of Palms park that was abandoned by the Red Sox to move (at taxpayers expense) to Jet Blue. You claim that spring training baseball "brings in" $25-50 million a year. I think that tourists that attend a spring training game might spend that total as tourist, but not all of it is incremenal spending i.e. much of that would be spent anyways. But lets assume your estimate, using a 6% sales tax, that means that the government recoveres $1.3 to $3.0 million in sales tax to cover all of their costs the have invested in the stadium. The low end of this estimate barely covers the costs of the paying off the EMPTY stadium, much less the $77.9 million Jet Blue Stadium and the proposed $45 million Hammonds Stadium renovations. And that is based on the assumption that ALL of the revenues are incremental revenues created just because of the stadium.

Again, if the renovations are so important the business owners i.e. the Minnesota Twins should pay for it themselves and pass along the costs to their customers. The team owners and the fans should not expect that the taxpayers should foot the bill.

And, if you want to include the minor league operations, the Miracle have a total attendence of less than 125,000. The highest ticket price is $7. That is less than $1 million total gate. They are already in over their heads stadium wise. Minor league baseball is great. But it cannot justify $5 million in stadium costs, much less $45.

Jim Crikket
08-17-2012, 10:52 PM
mlhouse, what you seem to be missing (or ignoring) is that the terms of the Twins lease (which is a legally binding contract, by the way) with Lee County calls for Hammond to be maintained at a level with the five newest ST facilities in Florida. Then again, I guess to some people, contracts mean nothing.

If your community doesn't wish to live up to the terms of their contract with the Twins, that's fine. They'll go elsewhere and you can move on without the revenues that the Twins generate for your community. You and your neighbors will be worse off financially, but hey at least you'll be comforted by the fact that you didn't give any money to the big bad Twins owners.

Jim Crikket
08-17-2012, 11:01 PM
By the way, the Twins and other teams are no different than any other business. They don't own the property they use, they lease it from the owner. If my business leases commercial space from a landloard and that lease calls for the landloard to maintain the property up to certain standards, I damn well expect the landlord to keep his end of that contract. If he doesn't, I'll break the lease and go elsewhere and leave him with his empty property. If Lee County won't keep their end of the lease, that's exactly what the Twins should do. Leave Hammond empty and let Lee County (and their residents who are too principled to allow tax dollars to be used to assist an industry that brings millions of dollars of revenue in to the community) eat rocks.

IdahoPilgrim
08-18-2012, 06:36 AM
Frankly, you miss the main point, which is SPRING TRAINING AND MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL DOES NOT NEED $45 million of taxpayer money spent on stadium improvements. Hammonds Stadium is fine just the way it is. But, our modern sports culture believes that they need to have all of the bells and whistles for "free", with the real costs borne by the taxpayers.

Here is another fact. The county still owes $20 million on the City of Palms park that was abandoned by the Red Sox to move (at taxpayers expense) to Jet Blue. You claim that spring training baseball "brings in" $25-50 million a year. I think that tourists that attend a spring training game might spend that total as tourist, but not all of it is incremenal spending i.e. much of that would be spent anyways. But lets assume your estimate, using a 6% sales tax, that means that the government recoveres $1.3 to $3.0 million in sales tax to cover all of their costs the have invested in the stadium. The low end of this estimate barely covers the costs of the paying off the EMPTY stadium, much less the $77.9 million Jet Blue Stadium and the proposed $45 million Hammonds Stadium renovations. And that is based on the assumption that ALL of the revenues are incremental revenues created just because of the stadium.

Again, if the renovations are so important the business owners i.e. the Minnesota Twins should pay for it themselves and pass along the costs to their customers. The team owners and the fans should not expect that the taxpayers should foot the bill.

And, if you want to include the minor league operations, the Miracle have a total attendence of less than 125,000. The highest ticket price is $7. That is less than $1 million total gate. They are already in over their heads stadium wise. Minor league baseball is great. But it cannot justify $5 million in stadium costs, much less $45.

Sounds to me like it's the other way around - the Twins don't need Lee County and should go somewhere else. That way you can feel good about standing on your principles and the Twins can go somewhere where they are more appreciated. Isn't that how business works, going where the demand is and who will pay the most?

And I've been to a couple of Miracle games this year. Tickets are not $7. Gameday sales (which are usually the bulk of the sales at this level) are $7.50 and $9.50 (and $1 extra on fireworks nights). And don't forget parking at $3/vehicle. That may or may not change your overall numbers that much (I'm not going to bother to do the math) but your argument would be more cogent if your facts were straight.

Sanibelchuck
08-18-2012, 07:51 AM
As a Fort Myers resident (ST season ticket holder and Miracle season ticket holder), where were the Twins when it came to this election? Their heads were in the sand. There was an organized effort by outside special interests to defeat Ray Judah. There is a very strong anti-baseball contigent in Lee County. BTW, the hotel/motel taxes pay for baseball. When you as a Twins fan stays in one of hotels, part of the tax you pay goes to the Red Sox stadium. Also this stadium is used by the GCL team. The Red Sox GCL team uses the stadium for their games while the Twins GCL team plays on an outer field. As for the Twins to play hard ball, forget it. I have not read a single post here of where the Twins would go for ST. What community in FL and AZ would pay for a stadium. How many Twins fans want to pay higher airline costs to fly to AZ? The Twins do not sell out their ST games, saw plenty of empty seats at some of the games.

IdahoPilgrim
08-18-2012, 08:46 AM
Clubs moving their spring training facilities is not that uncommon. If there hasn't been any speculation on where the Twins would go, it's only because up until now nobody really believed the relationship with Lee County was in jeopardy.

My guess is that if the Twins made it known, either overtly or covertly, that they were looking for a new solution, options would become available. There has been more than one community that lost a ST team recently; perhaps one of them is ready to pony up for a better facility. If not, maybe the Twins are stuck. But I see no reason not to test the waters and see what's out there. That's not blackmail. That's what a responsible business does - look for the solution that best fits their needs. If the environment in Lee County is really that anti-baseball, that should be considered.

JB_Iowa
08-18-2012, 09:48 AM
How many Twins fans want to pay higher airline costs to fly to AZ? The Twins do not sell out their ST games, saw plenty of empty seats at some of the games.

Maybe its just my part of Iowa but for every 1 person I know that winters in Florida, 50 winter in Arizona. (Texas would be a different matter but between Florida and Arizona, its not even close). And a lot of people hit Cubs ST in AZ. Even though the Twins have a long history in Florida, I don't think that a move to Arizona would be that big a deal.

Jim Crikket
08-18-2012, 11:33 AM
Yeah, JB is right. I like going to FL, but it would be no more expensive for me to go to AZ. There are plenty of discount airlines flying to AZ to keep costs down. In fact, in March it may be cheaper to fly to AZ since that's much less of a "Spring Break" destination than FL is. Demand for airline seats in March to FL is relatively high which makes those seats a bit pricey at times. May not be the case to AZ.

I don't really expect the Twins to leave Lee County. But sbknudson is absolutely right. They are a business and have a legally binding contract with Lee County regarding maintenance of the facility at a high level. If the County Commission decides not to honor that contract because the political winds in the area are blowing against baseball, the Twins absolutely should explore all options.

By the way, if Lee County fails to live up to the terms of the lease, good luck ever getting another organization to come to the area. They'll have demonstrated that their word is worthless because whoever the current Commissioners are can't be counted on to live up to the terms of contracts entered in to earlier. That is a dangerous reputation to establish with the business community.

Thrylos
08-18-2012, 11:56 AM
I think even for me who live on the Northeast, AZ to Fort Myers flights are about the same price; of course one could fly to Orlando for $99 from here in a 40 year old DC9 or 727, but that is a different story.

I enjoy Fort Myers and have many fine memories from ST there, but I'd go to AZ in a heart beat if the Twins move there.

The only issue I have with AZ spring training is that clubs share facilities. I enjoy being able to spend whole days in the minor league fields in the LCSC when the Twins have away games and watch the prospect and minor leaguers play. Or even spend a couple hrs in the MiLB fields before the Twins' home games. Not sure how the situation is in AZ as far as this goes in the shared facilities.

mlhouse
08-18-2012, 08:21 PM
Do you even know what you are talking about? The Twins want the taxpayers of Lee County to pay for all kinds of goodies, including $7.2 million in "Player Academy". They want $30 million in improvements on a structure that only cost $14 million ($23.9 million in current dollars) to build. There is no way that the Twins win this one based on the "maintenance" clause in the agreement.

There is also no way that the county gets value back to cover these costs and any economic analysis will reveal that. It is a facility that is used 17-20 times/year for Spring training. Right now, the stadium has a 7,500 seat capacity. For spring training, the total ticket revenue for 20 sold out spring training games at $30/ticket is $4.5 million. The cost, over 30 years at 4% interest of $45 million is $2.602 million. Sorry, if you think those numbers add up then you now nothing about business.


What the county should do is allow the Twins to market the naming rights for the stadium and negotiate minor improvements to the stadium at less than $10 million in cost. Even this is extreme blackmail and if the Twins want to bolt, I say good riddance. And, while it is very possible to move spring training sites it is not cost and risk free either. The existing Florida market is pretty much covered, particularly on the Gulf Coast side of the state and to improve on Hammond Stadium the Twins would need new construction. I doubt that there is a community on the Gulf that is financially interested in such a deal. There might be opportunities on the Atlantic side of the state, like the West Palm-Boca axis, but there are many reasons why the Twins are located on the Gulf Coast, particularly demographic reasons (Midwesterners flock to the Gulf, East Coast people to the Atlantic) and if the Twins chose that region that would be a huge risk. And, I doubt that they can get even close to as lucrative of a site in Arizona.

As a resident, I usually go to a Twins Spring Training game when family and friends come into town, and it is nice having my hometown team here. But, frankly, the experience is vastly overrated and insanely expensive to watch a part major-part minor league game. And

Thrylos
08-18-2012, 09:50 PM
Do you even know what you are talking about? The Twins want the taxpayers of Lee County to pay for all kinds of goodies, including $7.2 million in "Player Academy". They want $30 million in improvements on a structure that only cost $14 million ($23.9 million in current dollars) to build. There is no way that the Twins win this one based on the "maintenance" clause in the agreement.

There is also no way that the county gets value back to cover these costs and any economic analysis will reveal that. It is a facility that is used 17-20 times/year for Spring training. Right now, the stadium has a 7,500 seat capacity. For spring training, the total ticket revenue for 20 sold out spring training games at $30/ticket is $4.5 million. The cost, over 30 years at 4% interest of $45 million is $2.602 million. Sorry, if you think those numbers add up then you now nothing about business.


What the county should do is allow the Twins to market the naming rights for the stadium and negotiate minor improvements to the stadium at less than $10 million in cost. Even this is extreme blackmail and if the Twins want to bolt, I say good riddance. And, while it is very possible to move spring training sites it is not cost and risk free either. The existing Florida market is pretty much covered, particularly on the Gulf Coast side of the state and to improve on Hammond Stadium the Twins would need new construction. I doubt that there is a community on the Gulf that is financially interested in such a deal. There might be opportunities on the Atlantic side of the state, like the West Palm-Boca axis, but there are many reasons why the Twins are located on the Gulf Coast, particularly demographic reasons (Midwesterners flock to the Gulf, East Coast people to the Atlantic) and if the Twins chose that region that would be a huge risk. And, I doubt that they can get even close to as lucrative of a site in Arizona.

As a resident, I usually go to a Twins Spring Training game when family and friends come into town, and it is nice having my hometown team here. But, frankly, the experience is vastly overrated and insanely expensive to watch a part major-part minor league game. And


Ok. Methinks that we are talking about apples and oranges. There is a high lever economic analysis in this thread suggesting that the Fort Myers area is getting a good $25-50 Million at least a year because the Twins are holding Spring Training there. That's the financial impact. Tickets are little of this, taxes are little of this. Hotel rooms, restaurant meals and miscellaneous consumption is the bulk of the money that goes to the pockets of people in Lee County. You lose that and you lose about 25% of the hotels and the restaurants in the area and about 10% of the stores. Wanna go there? Feel free.

Think of it as an infrastructure investment. If the county spends $10 million to add a lane to the highway do they get it back in their coffers? How about sewer and water improvement? Nope.

Jim Crikket
08-18-2012, 09:58 PM
I think we've hit on the problem. If milhouse is an example of the typical local Lee County baseball fan, they clearly don't get what the Spring Training "experience" is for a significant portion of the ST visitors. We don't go down there to watch a game or two where the regulars play half the game. If that's all you see ST is about as a fan, then (a) you're cheating yourself, or (b) you're a pretty casual fan. And not many casual fans shell out a grand or more to spend several days attending a MLB Spring Training. As Thrylos indicated, in addition to the games, it's about spending time on the back fields watching MLB and minor league workouts and B games and minor league games and getting a good close look not only at the current Twins, but those that are coming up through the system. That's what we visitors pump millions of dollars a year in to your local economy for.

As a casual fan (and barely that), I would guess you have no idea what the standard is that's been set for the "five newest ballparks" in Florida. Those "goodies" you're whining about are exactly what's going in to those other facilities. Then again, you and the rest of the anti-baseball crowd have already made it well known that you don't give a rat's behind about the county honoring their side of the existing contract/lease.

Thry, from what I've been told, the AZ facilities are great. Yes, two teams may share a stadium, but that's just for games. I've been told both teams have their own set of facilities for workouts and minor leagues. Essentially, we'd be able to not only wander the fields and watch Twins prospects play, but could also go catch a bit of the prospects for whichever team shared the complex with the Twins. Not a bad set up. In fact, if Lee County was smart, they'd have done something similar with the Twins and Red Sox and/or Nationals. That wouldn't address their desire to put someone in the old City of Palms ballpark, though. Then again, I can't see how they con any team in to taking the Red Sox leftovers anyway.

mlhouse
08-19-2012, 12:17 AM
Ok. Methinks that we are talking about apples and oranges. There is a high lever economic analysis in this thread suggesting that the Fort Myers area is getting a good $25-50 Million at least a year because the Twins are holding Spring Training there. That's the financial impact. Tickets are little of this, taxes are little of this. Hotel rooms, restaurant meals and miscellaneous consumption is the bulk of the money that goes to the pockets of people in Lee County. You lose that and you lose about 25% of the hotels and the restaurants in the area and about 10% of the stores. Wanna go there? Feel free.

Think of it as an infrastructure investment. If the county spends $10 million to add a lane to the highway do they get it back in their coffers? How about sewer and water improvement? Nope.

Lets assume that your $50 million is correct and there is $50 million in incremental spending in Lee County because of Twins. That means that the County gets $3 million in tax revenues. That barely pays off the "investment" in 30 years. But, over that time, the Twins would have asked for another $50 million and the $20 million the county still owes on the old Red Sox facility is not being paid.

In reality, not all of the $50 million is incremental. Believe it or not, tourist come to Ft Myers for other things than Spring Training.

Next, your claim that Ft Myers would lose 25% of the hotels and restaurants and 10% of the stores is laughable. Again, lets assume the $50 million total you claim is ALL INCREMENTAL to Spring Training and would go away if the Twins moved to a different location. That is 0.4% of all taxable sales in the county. Clearly certain facilitites taht receive economic "rents" because of their location to the stadium or are directly related to the tourist trade might be impacted, but that is far from your overstated claims. And, again, that is assuming taht all of the $50 million leaves. It would not.

Lastly, your last comment addresses what the proper role of government should be. Local governments obviously have a role in sewer and water improvements and road construction. I would even argue that they could play some role in helping a project like improving Hammonds stadium (read above) and helping the Twins gain revenue (let them control the naming rights). But, $45 million to make these improvements is way beyond their role. If these improvements are needed, the Twins should make these improvements and charge the increases back to their customers, i.e. the Fans. If they cannot be charged back to the customers, then it clearly calls into question the true NEED for such improvements.

Thrylos
08-19-2012, 12:32 AM
Ok. Methinks that we are talking about apples and oranges. There is a high lever economic analysis in this thread suggesting that the Fort Myers area is getting a good $25-50 Million at least a year because the Twins are holding Spring Training there. That's the financial impact. Tickets are little of this, taxes are little of this. Hotel rooms, restaurant meals and miscellaneous consumption is the bulk of the money that goes to the pockets of people in Lee County. You lose that and you lose about 25% of the hotels and the restaurants in the area and about 10% of the stores. Wanna go there? Feel free.

Think of it as an infrastructure investment. If the county spends $10 million to add a lane to the highway do they get it back in their coffers? How about sewer and water improvement? Nope.

Lets assume that your $50 million is correct and there is $50 million in incremental spending in Lee County because of Twins. That means that the County gets $3 million in tax revenues. That barely pays off the "investment" in 30 years. But, over that time, the Twins would have asked for another $50 million and the $20 million the county still owes on the old Red Sox facility is not being paid.

In reality, not all of the $50 million is incremental. Believe it or not, tourist come to Ft Myers for other things than Spring Training.

Next, your claim that Ft Myers would lose 25% of the hotels and restaurants and 10% of the stores is laughable. Again, lets assume the $50 million total you claim is ALL INCREMENTAL to Spring Training and would go away if the Twins moved to a different location. That is 0.4% of all taxable sales in the county. Clearly certain facilitites taht receive economic "rents" because of their location to the stadium or are directly related to the tourist trade might be impacted, but that is far from your overstated claims. And, again, that is assuming taht all of the $50 million leaves. It would not.

Lastly, your last comment addresses what the proper role of government should be. Local governments obviously have a role in sewer and water improvements and road construction. I would even argue that they could play some role in helping a project like improving Hammonds stadium (read above) and helping the Twins gain revenue (let them control the naming rights). But, $45 million to make these improvements is way beyond their role. If these improvements are needed, the Twins should make these improvements and charge the increases back to their customers, i.e. the Fans. If they cannot be charged back to the customers, then it clearly calls into question the true NEED for such improvements.

OK
let me put it this way (and this is the last effort I am going to make) :

Nothing incremental. And it is an annual $50 million dollar fall to your community. Not to taxes not to county coffers. Just to businesses and their employees. And some of that tickles down as taxes (whatever). And, seriously, if the Twins were to go away, about a third of the Fort Myers area Hotels will go away, a third of the restaurants, a third of the gas stations and about 10% of the rest of the businesses. And about 20-30% of the local airport flights at least, which might make them shut it down. Unemployment at like 20% over there. Not a pretty picture. Just sayin'

mlhouse
08-19-2012, 12:49 AM
I think we've hit on the problem. If milhouse is an example of the typical local Lee County baseball fan, they clearly don't get what the Spring Training "experience" is for a significant portion of the ST visitors. We don't go down there to watch a game or two where the regulars play half the game. If that's all you see ST is about as a fan, then (a) you're cheating yourself, or (b) you're a pretty casual fan. And not many casual fans shell out a grand or more to spend several days attending a MLB Spring Training. As Thrylos indicated, in addition to the games, it's about spending time on the back fields watching MLB and minor league workouts and B games and minor league games and getting a good close look not only at the current Twins, but those that are coming up through the system. That's what we visitors pump millions of dollars a year in to your local economy for.

As a casual fan (and barely that), I would guess you have no idea what the standard is that's been set for the "five newest ballparks" in Florida. Those "goodies" you're whining about are exactly what's going in to those other facilities. Then again, you and the rest of the anti-baseball crowd have already made it well known that you don't give a rat's behind about the county honoring their side of the existing contract/lease.

Thry, from what I've been told, the AZ facilities are great. Yes, two teams may share a stadium, but that's just for games. I've been told both teams have their own set of facilities for workouts and minor leagues. Essentially, we'd be able to not only wander the fields and watch Twins prospects play, but could also go catch a bit of the prospects for whichever team shared the complex with the Twins. Not a bad set up. In fact, if Lee County was smart, they'd have done something similar with the Twins and Red Sox and/or Nationals. That wouldn't address their desire to put someone in the old City of Palms ballpark, though. Then again, I can't see how they con any team in to taking the Red Sox leftovers anyway.

LOL... I am far from a casual fan. I have followed the Twins since 1969 and know almost every minor league player in the system. I highly doubt that your knowledge excedes mine. But, what you are mistaking is that 95% of the people who go to a Twins Spring Training game are casual fans. They know Joe Mauer and Justin Mourneau. Beyond that, they have very little clue who is even on the major league roster, much less when players like Wilkin Ramirez or Danny Lehmann come into the game to replace them. They are paying to watch the game in the confines of a small stadium, in the Florida sunshine, and that is the true value of the experience.

Next, spending time on the back fields is free (except for a parking charge if you park on the field). You can go before the game and wander around, watch BP and other activities. That is another special value of spring training, but the vast majority of the fans have no clue who they are watching. One time I was watching a batting practice group of the aforementioned Lehmann, Trevor Ploufe, Deobeson Romero, Toby Gardenhire, and David Winfree. I bet that you woudl know who all of those farmhands were, and I did too. But the vast majority of the fans at Spring Training would not.

Next, completley laughing at your claim that the county is not fulfilling their end of the bargain! The word is "maintained" and that leaves a lot of interpetration. Clearly though, player dorms and academies are not part of maintenance ($7.2 million the Twins want the taxpayers to pay), and most likely much of the other improvements the Twins "require" are nothing but blue sky. Having attended a game in Jet Blue Stadium, that is a comparable stadium in all aspects except cost.

Lastly, your snide remarks about the Red Sox left overs are simply highlighting the mistakes local government officials make with taxpayers money. It is easy to spend and give into such threats. But, now the county is left with an empty facility that they still owe $20 million and will have to maintain and make secure. This is a similar mistake.

Like I said, I love having the Twins here. But, Spring Training is vastly overated. If they left because they cannot fleece the taxpayers of this county $45 million, then good riddance. It will have zero impact except for the empty promises the team made and if they can find bigger suckers somewhere else, then so be it.

Again, if these "improvements" are not worth an extra $1 or $3 or $5 to the PERSON GOING TO THE GAME, then how is it possible that they are worth it to the taxpayer who are not at the game? You people seem to beleive these improvements are so necessary, but clearly unwilling to pay for it yourself. You want all of the value but are not willing to bear the cost. It is sad that governments have worked themselves into this type of unnecessary spending and are blackmailed by these teams

mlhouse
08-19-2012, 01:02 AM
OK
let me put it this way (and this is the last effort I am going to make) :

Nothing incremental. And it is an annual $50 million dollar fall to your community. Not to taxes not to county coffers. Just to businesses and their employees. And some of that tickles down as taxes (whatever). And, seriously, if the Twins were to go away, about a third of the Fort Myers area Hotels will go away, a third of the restaurants, a third of the gas stations and about 10% of the rest of the businesses. And about 20-30% of the local airport flights at least, which might make them shut it down. Unemployment at like 20% over there. Not a pretty picture. Just sayin'

LOL!!!!!!!!! You are totally ignorant then and do not understand the investment issue at hand. LEE COUNTY WOULD BE THE ONE MAKING HTE INVESTMENT. Their cut on this value is the sales tax revenues they generate from this incremental revenue. To make an investment decision you look at cost versus benefit. And, their cut on the revenues would not be sufficient to cover their expenses. THERE IS NO OTHER WAY OF PUTTING IT.
Next, as I have already explained to you, $50 million is 0.4% of the annual taxable sales in this county. I am not going to say "big deal", but, really, big deal. It isn't worth investing $45 million in acquiring (we already worked that out but it seems to be over your head).

Next, lets look at another of your claims. You claim that 20-30% of local airport flights would be lost. In 2011 there were 7.1 million flights into RSW. You are claiming that we would lose between 1.4 and 2.1 million flights a year because we would not have 20 baseball games here in Ft Myers. Sad that anyone can believe such claims, but apparently you do. I think the airport will be just fine. Based on this obvious hyperbole, I think this calls into question pretty much everyone of your other claims (Seriously, do you really believe that 33% of the gas stations would go away because of spring training?). And, most importantly, it really calls into question your original assertion that there is $50 million in INCREMENTAL revenues because of spring training. I believe that number is grossly inflated and most (but not all) of that spending would happen anyways as the snow birds come to Ft Myers and other tourists come to Marco Island, Sanibal Island, or Ft Myers Beach.

And, as usual, I will add this issue. If these improvements are so necessary that the great Twins fans like yourself, who love the game, watch the BP and prospects, are not willing to pay whatever the costs associated with these improvements in increased ticket prices, THEN THESE IMPROVEMENTS ARE NOT NECESSARY AND THE TAXPAYERS SHOULD NOT PAY FOR THEM.

Thrylos
08-19-2012, 01:02 AM
Again, if these "improvements" are not worth an extra $1 or $3 or $5 to the PERSON GOING TO THE GAME, then how is it possible that they are worth it to the taxpayer who are not at the game? You people seem to beleive these improvements are so necessary, but clearly unwilling to pay for it yourself. You want all of the value but are not willing to bear the cost. It is sad that governments have worked themselves into this type of unnecessary spending and are blackmailed by these teams

Methinks that you got it wrong. It really is worth more to the taxpayer than the person who is going to the Lee County Sports Complex (game or not). Because the the fan will go where the Twins are spending their Spring Training. The Fort Myers taxpayer's job depends on the business that he or she is working for (and I am not talking about the Twins or the Miracle) is making enough money from those fans to pay them.

mlhouse
08-19-2012, 01:12 AM
Another point. There is no evidence that such improvements are needed. The Spring Trainign games are all played to a stadium played to capacity and ticket prices are relatively high. If you are a business that needs to improve, usually this is signaled by lowered demand or lower prices. Neither of these signals are evident. What this is is simply "park envy" that is so prevalent in professional sports. One team gets some bell and whistle, so every team thinks that they have to have the local taxpayers pay for this new bell and whistle.

If you have been to Hammond Field for a ST game or a Miracle game and did not enjoy the experience, then too bad for you. The stadium is more than adequate for its purpose.

Lastly, I do not completley dismiss using taxpayer money to support stadiums. Particularly in Florida which does not have state income taxes because we have tourists that pay a substantial part of our state bills. But, such support should be limited. I think giving the Twins the naming rights and incremental improvements of $10 million, maybe even $20 should be considered, particularly since the state funds 50% of the investment from tourist development money. But, that is not what the team wants because they think they can get it all.

mlhouse
08-19-2012, 01:23 AM
Again, if these "improvements" are not worth an extra $1 or $3 or $5 to the PERSON GOING TO THE GAME, then how is it possible that they are worth it to the taxpayer who are not at the game? You people seem to beleive these improvements are so necessary, but clearly unwilling to pay for it yourself. You want all of the value but are not willing to bear the cost. It is sad that governments have worked themselves into this type of unnecessary spending and are blackmailed by these teams

Methinks that you got it wrong. It really is worth more to the taxpayer than the person who is going to the Lee County Sports Complex (game or not). Because the the fan will go where the Twins are spending their Spring Training. The Fort Myers taxpayer's job depends on the business that he or she is working for (and I am not talking about the Twins or the Miracle) is making enough money from those fans to pay them.

No, the JOBS will go where the Spring Training games are. If you really want to be a ticket taker at a stadium, then you can pack up your belonging and move to the city were the Twins or another team relocate. I am sure the Twins would even give you priority and maintain your seniority!!!!

NEXT, and this is a concept big dollar stadium advocates CANNOT GET THROUGH THEIR HEADS, VERY FEW JOBS DEPEND ON A FEW HOURS OF THE TWENTY DAYS THERE ARE SPRING TRAINING GAMES IN THE STADIUM. Sure, there are a handful of people who work at these jobs and that income may be very important for them and their families. But, this represents a 8% FTE assuming that every spring training related job works a full 8 hours on a game day(again, another doubful assumption). But on a macro-level these supposed jobs just do not justify the investment the Twins are seeking. For the lost income from these jobs, the county would probably be better off just paying them directly for their lost income rather than dumping huge money into stadium improvements.

IdahoPilgrim
08-19-2012, 07:54 AM
Like I said, I love having the Twins here. But, Spring Training is vastly overated. If they left because they cannot fleece the taxpayers of this county $45 million, then good riddance. It will have zero impact except for the empty promises the team made and if they can find bigger suckers somewhere else, then so be it.



I think this about says it all. We are agreed that if the Twins can get a better deal elsewhere they should take it. I'm okay with that.

Jim Crikket
08-19-2012, 04:28 PM
Like I said, I love having the Twins here. But, Spring Training is vastly overated. If they left because they cannot fleece the taxpayers of this county $45 million, then good riddance. It will have zero impact except for the empty promises the team made and if they can find bigger suckers somewhere else, then so be it.



I think this about says it all. We are agreed that if the Twins can get a better deal elsewhere they should take it. I'm okay with that.

It does and I agree totally. I just find it ironic that someone who advocates that Lee County violate the legally binding contractual terms of a valid lease would have the gall to refer to the Twins' "empty promises."

MWLFan
08-20-2012, 09:09 PM
Can't we all agree on a couple of things here.

1.) mlhouse says he is a taxpaying resident of Lee County and it is his money that will be spent. He has more at stake then we do in this arguement. So I bow to that and don't care if he is right or wrong on the economics. His county, his money, his vote.

2.) My friends and I will drop the 3,000 or so on a spring training trip in Fort Meyers or Orlando or AZ. I like the beach option, but you know AZ has some great bars, wonderful food and good golf I am sure. I think we can find a way to spend our money if Fort Meyers doesn't want it. No biggie to me. Three hours of baseball in the day and the rest eating and well...you know. We probably spend 400 at the games and then the rest exploring the town looking for another way to expand my waistline, kill a few brain cells, (Which I may have done too much of in 50 years.) and stay in the warmth and sun. I know Vegas wouldn't work for Spring training, but that would be awesome!


3.) The use of Caps and Bolding them should be outlawed. Really. I get your passion but it comes off as screaming and makes me less likely to take it seriously.

I go to Beloit games and went to games in Quad Cities before that and if they end up in Cedar Rapids I will go there. I am a nomad and vagabond of the minor leagues following my Twins where ever they end up. (Just no SAL please.) So Fort Meyers is just a spot on the map to me and mlhouse has a lot more invested then do I down there.

I will say this, Cities all around the country vie for large conventions and trade shows to fill up their hotels and resturants for just a week. I have worked with our local Chamber on all sorts of crazy schemes and ideas to lure the almighty tourist buck. Unless you have a built in Tourist attraction, like say Gettysburg Pa, it is damn hard to get noticed. I have been to Fort Meyers and to other Gulf Coast communities. Fort Meyers is good, but is it that much better then say Pensacola or Tampa St. Pete? Not really. So a whole month of revenue could be quite a hole for some folks to replace.