Video: Hillsborough County approves $40M Steinbrenner Field renovation to keep the Yankees through 2046
TAMPA — Hillsborough County commissioners on Wednesday approved a $40 million renovation of George M. Steinbrenner Field, greenlighting an agreement that will keep New York Yankees' spring training in Tampa through 2046.
The deal commits more than $13 million in Hillsborough County tourism tax dollars to the project and is also contingent on Florida matching those dollars through a spring training retention fund. The Yankees will pay the remaining $13 million.
The vote was swift and unanimous.
"George M. Steinbrenner field is an extremely valuable economic and community asset," Hagan said. "We have a vested interest in maintaining a state-of-the art" facility.
Steinbrenner Field originally opened in 1996 as Legends Field near Dale Marby Highway and Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard with a 30-year lease. The deal extends that lease by 21 years. It is also the home of the Tampa Yankees
Improvements include new seats throughout the 10,000-capacity ballpark, roof replacements, a better entry plaza and an upgraded outfield concourse. The renovations will be completed next March.
The team's spring training practice facility on Himes Avenue will also be upgraded.
Under the existing contract, the county was not obligated to pay for any of the upgrades, but it agreed to in exchange for the Yankee's long-term commitment to Tampa. The deal also strengthens the penalties against the Yankees if they choose to leave.
The Tampa Sports Authority, which owns and operates the stadium, approved the deal unanimously Tuesday. The agreement still needs the blessing of the Tampa City Council, the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, which owns the Himes Avenue land, and the Hillsborough Community College.