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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sports stadium bill could impact Rays' plans



State Rep. Bryan Avila, R-Hialeah, is going after Florida sports teams for using public land to build their stadiums.

A bill (HB 77) filed in the Florida House on Tuesday would outlaw teams from leasing state and local government-owned land to build stadiums or renovating stadiums already on public land. It would also require that land sold by local governments or the state to build a stadium be at fair market value.

Right now, one major sports team in the state is in the market for a new home: the Tampa Bay Rays. If passed, the Rays could face limited options for a new stadium. One site that is available for the team to build on for a future stadium is the Tropicana Field site. This bill would nullify that as a possibility. 

As well, the Tampa Bay Rowdies plan to make a "very important announcement...regarding the club's future" later tonight. If the announcement includes a stadium expansion or renovations, they would be barred by such a bill. Similarly, David Beckham's group is trying to buy land for a soccer stadium in Miami

Avila could not be reached for comment.

However, the bill may not pass, even though House leadership, including Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, opposes using public money on stadiums.

No one in the state Senate has filed the bill -- a requirement to pass the Legislature and land on Gov. Rick Scott's desk for approval. And a similar effort pushed by Avila in 2016 never passed its first committee.

Times staff writer Charlie Frago contributed to this report.

[Last modified: Tuesday, December 6, 2016 6:24pm]


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