Report: Delay in setting referendum to move Yankees' minor league team from Tampa to Ocala
From the Ocala-Star Banner: The Marion County Commission will wait until Jan. 7 before considering whether to schedule a referendum to raise that county's sales tax and use the proceeds to build a $60 million stadium complex for the New York Yankees' Class A Advanced minor league team.
In October, the Yankees and Ocala officials outlined a plan to move the minor league team — but not the Yankees' much more lucrative spring training operation — from Tampa to Marion County.
Ocala and Marion County officials have talked about asking voters to raise the sales tax by half a cent for three years, but the Star-Banner reported Tuesday that Marion County officials first want to look at other potential sources of funding that would not require a tax increase.
This year, the Tampa Yankees drew 118,770 fans to George M. Steinbrenner Field — the fourth-highest attendance in the 12-team Florida State League — averaging 1,827 fans per game, the crowds could vary.
But at the facility on N Dale Mabry Highway, the Tampa Yankees compete with the Tampa Bay Rays, Buccaneers and Lightning, as well as the University of South Florida football, Busch Gardens and the gulf beaches.
In Ocala, officials believe the team would be a bigger attraction, drawing retirees from Citrus County, the Villages and Gainesville.