Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

NFL lockout could mean lost tax dollars for Hillsborough County

TAMPA — For taxpayers in Hillsborough County, an NFL lockout would mean more than just lost Sundays in the fall. It would mean lost tax dollars, too.

If the upcoming NFL season is canceled, Hillsborough County could lose as much as $1.2 million; the city of Tampa, about $600,000. And about 3,500 people here would lose 10 days of work.

But a pledge Friday by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could limit the impact to up to $660,000 for the county and $330,000 for the city. The team said it intends to pay the Tampa Sports Authority for lost ticket fees if games are canceled.

The authority owns and runs Raymond James Stadium, where the Bucs play. The authority already operates at a loss — projected at $2.7 million this year. Its guarantors, Tampa and Hillsborough taxpayers, pay its debts.

If the season is completely lost, and the Bucs keep their promise, the county would be on the hook for up to $2.5 million; the city, $1.2 million.

County Administrator Mike Merrill said the county is not yet concerned. He and others are confident the season will be played. The NFL and the players union agreed Friday to extend negotiations for another week on a new collective bargaining agreement.

Eric Hart, the authority's executive director, said if the season is canceled, he would cut costs to decrease losses.

The Bucs pay $3.5 million annually to use the stadium. The authority also earns $800,000 to $1.2 million per year from fees on Buccaneer tickets. But the team rakes in all game revenue, while the authority pays to prepare the stadium, staff it and clean it up.

With the Bucs' promise to replace any loss on ticket fees, a canceled season would leave the authority without the $3.5 million rent. But it would also save the authority $2.5 million — the cost of hosting 10 games.

The impact a lost season would have on the local economy is unclear, but at least 3,500 people would lose 10 days of work. The authority hires just under 1,000 people per game, most part-time, Hart said. Though Raymond James will still be hosting other events, many of those jobs would be at risk.

To further cut costs, Hart said he would look into staffing changes, including hour reductions, furloughs and layoffs.

Hart said the authority is constantly pursuing other ways to fill the stadium. This month it hosts a concert by country superstar Kenny Chesney, and in June a Gold Cup game, the North and Central American championship soccer tournament. Those events should lessen the authority's projected losses, Hart said.

Still, because of its 1996 contract with the Bucs, whatever profits the authority turns are often negligible to its bottom line. The contract requires the authority to give the Bucs its first $2 million in profits from non-Buccaneer events, and half of any profits after $2 million.

Last year, the it earned about $2.4 million from extra events, but kept only $180,000.

The contract expires in 2028.

Jack Nicas can be reached at (813) 226-3401 or

NFL lockout could mean lost tax dollars for Hillsborough County 03/04/11 [Last modified: Friday, March 4, 2011 10:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Kriseman invites Steph Curry to St. Pete on Twitter


    Mayor Rick Kriseman is no stranger to tweaking President Donald Trump on social media.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman took to Twitter Saturday evening to wade into President Donald Trump's latest social media scuffle
  2. Death toll, humanitarian crisis grow in Puerto Rico


    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A humanitarian crisis grew Saturday in Puerto Rico as towns were left without fresh water, fuel, power or phone service following Hurricane Maria's devastating passage across the island.

    Crew members assess electrical lines in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria on Friday in Puerto Rico. Mobile communications systems are being flown in but “it’s going to take a while.”
  3. N. Korea says strike against U.S. mainland is 'inevitable'


    North Korea's foreign minister warned Saturday that a strike against the U.S. mainland is "inevitable" because President Donald Trump mocked leader Kim Jong Un with the belittling nickname "little rocketman."

  4. All-eyes photo gallery: Florida State Seminoles loss to the N.C. State Wolfpack


    View a gallery of images from the Florida State Seminoles 27-21 loss to the N.C. State Wolfpack Saturday in Tallahassee. The Seminoles will face Wake Forest on Saturday, Sept. 30 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

    Florida State Seminoles fans sing the fight song during the Florida State Seminoles game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack on September 23, 2017, at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Fla.  At the half, North Carolina State Wolfpack 17, Florida State Seminoles 10.
  5. Helicopter, small aircraft collide at Clearwater Air Park


    CLEARWATER — Two people suffered minor injuries after a helicopter and a small aircraft collided late Saturday afternoon at Clearwater Air Park, 1000 N Hercules Ave.

    Clearwater Fire Department emergency personal douse a plane with fire retardant after the plane crashed into a helicopter at Clearwater Air Park 1000 N Hercules Ave. Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. According to Clearwater Fire two people sustained minor injuries. [Photo by Clearwater Fire Department]