Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg says empty seats won't affect push for playoffs

ST. PETERSBURG — With attendance and TV ratings down, and efforts for a new stadium stalemated, Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said he will focus for now on the field and his team's efforts to get back to the playoffs.

He said their attendance — 13th in the AL, 28th in the majors going into Saturday — "is what it is" and he was tired of talking about it (and figured people were tired of hearing about it). He said the reported MLB-high 37 percent decline in TV ratings was "not good" but wouldn't affect operations.

Sternberg sounded resigned to waiting out the stadium issue, currently being held up by a disagreement with St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, and perhaps a bit exasperated by the situation given the team's on-field success.

"We're not changing anything at this point," Sternberg said. "I've tried everything. People know it. We hear it all the time; we're winning on the field, we're putting a good product out there, the place is inviting, we've got concerts, we've got the second-most affordable team. There's not much else to be done at this point.

"It's baseball here. I believe in the game, I love the game. And just like (Lightning owner) Jeff Vinik loves hockey or the (Bucs-owning) Glazers might love football, you follow your passion and you put everything into it that you possibly can. And you'd like people and businesses and politicians to share your enjoyment and passion for it. Fortunately we've got a lot of people here who really support us and watch our games nightly and come out, and I'm genuinely grateful for everybody that follows the team. …

"There's no 2012 election, there's no new Congress coming in. This is what it is. It's been focused on and talked about. We need to have better resources somehow, and how it plays out eventually I don't know."

Sternberg also said he found the excessive speculation about incoming Astros ownership coveting executive vice president Andrew Friedman "very irresponsible" but wasn't concerned about losing his top baseball man.

"I don't think about that," he said. "Fortunately Andrew doesn't think about that either. (Team president) Matt (Silverman) doesn't think about it. He's got a great department, they work well together. And it's my job to make sure everybody is happy here and motivated and rewarded, and that comes in a lot of different ways. I couldn't be more pleased with how things are working."

Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg says empty seats won't affect push for playoffs 07/16/11 [Last modified: Saturday, July 16, 2011 11:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tiki Barber will join his brother, Ronde, on Fox broadcast for Bucs-Giants


    FOX announced Monday night that former Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber will have a familiar face joining him as a guest analyst for the Oct. 1 Bucs-Giants game in Tampa: his twin brother Tiki, who will join …

    Tik Barber, right, will join his brother, Ronde, left, as a guest analyst on the Oct. 1 Bucs-Giants broadcast on FOX. [Times files (2006)]
  2. Cannons will fire again when Bucs return to Raymond James Stadium


    As good as the Bucs looked in their season-opening 29-7 win against the Bears on Sunday, fans couldn't help but notice that the success didn't sound the same at Raymond James Stadium.

     Ron Gutschmidt is perched on top of the Buccaneer pirate ship ready to activate the ship's cannons with the press of a button after a Buccaneer touchdown. [LUIS SANTANA | Times]
  3. Rick and Tom podcast: How should Joe Maddon be remembered tonight?

    The Heater

    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones talk about Joe Maddon's return to Tropicana Field for the first time since he left the Rays in 2014 in the latest edition of our Rick and Tom podcast. They discuss the mixed emotions …

    Joe Maddon returns to Tropicana Field tonight for the first time since he left the Rays in 2014. [Getty Images]
  4. Cubs bring some other ex-Rays to Trop such as Wade Davis, Ben Zobrist


    Joe Maddon's first trip back to the Trop is getting most of the headlines tonight, but there are several other familiar faces among the eight former Rays now wearing Cubs uniforms.

    Two-time Rays MVP Ben Zobrist is finishing strong after a slow start to his second season in Chicago.
  5. Oleg Sosunov brings intrigue to Lightning exhibition opener


    When Hall of Famer Phil Esposito first saw Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov, he joked he thought the 6-foot-8 Russian would hit the ceiling of Amalie Arena.

    Oleg Sosunov's ability to skate for his size, his reach, and his style have drawn comparisons to Zdeno Chara.