St. Pete's cash affair with the Rays
ST. PETERSBURG -- Wonder how much all this Tampa Bay Rays mania is costing taxpayers?
So far, the city has spent $3,750 of its marketing dollars to celebrate the Rays, and the tab is growing.
Here's how that breaks down: $257.98 for 1,000 fliers, $1,020 for six banners, $1,090 for 5,000 posters, $620 for 18 blue flags to decorate street lights near Tropicana Field, $114.20 on 168 balloons for last week's poorly attended Central Avenue street party, $200 worth of staff time to hang the balloons, $208.22 worth of staff time to create the graphic designs and $240 worth of staff time to hang the banners.
City officials have yet to provide information on how much they spent on police staffing for the street party. They also are not sure how much it will cost to provide additional police staffing during the team's playoff games, but estimate it could cost about $5,000 per game, or $55,000.
The Rays' Straub Park party Monday night was paid for by the team, according to the city.
The good news is the city also expects to earn between $269,000 to $280,000 from ticket sales if the team makes it to the World Series.
Why the price difference?
The city receives 64 cents for every attendee at each of the playoff games. If the Rays make it through to the World Series, that makes 11 potential home games. The Rays are only selling 36,000 tickets right now, but if they open the other seats in the stadium, they could sell 42,000 tickets, translating to extra cash for the city.
That money would go toward the city's Tropicana Field operating fund and help offset $1.6-million worth of annual subsidies for the stadium.
Cristina Silva, Times staff writer