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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Tampa Bay Buccaneers ask state for $1 million a year to fund Ray Jay improvements

Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans cheer as the American flag unfolds on the field at Raymond James Stadium on Sept. 7, 2014.

Times 2014

Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans cheer as the American flag unfolds on the field at Raymond James Stadium on Sept. 7, 2014.



The Tampa Bay Buccaneers want the state to give the football team $12 million to help fund renovations to Raymond James Stadium.

The team applied for a sports facility grant to help build or upgrade arenas through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity on Monday, the last day for entities to apply. The Bucs are asking for "$1 million per year for the duration of the stadium agreement between the Tampa Sports Authority" and the team, according to the application. The lease agreement runs through 2028.

There were three other applications for grant funds: South Florida Stadium LLC (i.e. the Miami Dolphins), Daytona International Speedway, and the City of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Dolphins, Jaguars and Daytona racetrack submitted lengthy proposals totalling hundreds of pages that answered several dozen required questions that explain how the funds will be used and how it will benefit taxpayers. The Buccaneers’ merely filled out a single line asking for the money and then signed the application.

“We’re reviewing the applications and if we need further information we will reach out to the applicants to get that information,” said Erin Gillespie, spokeswoman with the DEO.

The Bucs request comes as the team and the Tampa Sports Authority are in testy negotiations over stadium renovations. In September, Buccaneers executives asked for a second regular season game away from Raymond James, and in return the organization would fund up to $75 million of a $100 million stadium makeover. The sports authority was hesitant to allow the Bucs to play a quarter of their regular season away from Tampa.

Coincidentally, the TSA has asked for $1 million annual reduction in profits by the Bucs from other events at Raymond James Stadium like concerts. The Bucs have offered decreasing the amount from $2 million to $1.5 million.

The Dolphins, Jaguars and Daytona all asked for funds last year but lawmakers never made a decision on their applications.

[Last modified: Tuesday, November 3, 2015 5:54pm]


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