Questions remain how Rays will fund new stadium

Expert says price tag is too high

TAMPA, Fla. — Most people seem to agree the design for a new Rays stadium has a “wow” factor.

“I think it looks beautiful,” said Rays fan Edith Lawson.

But no one seems to know where the money to pay for it will come from. Not even the Rays.

“We do not have those answers yet,” said team president Brian Auld.

“You got to hope they’ll pull it together,” said Lawson.

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Neil deMause co-authored “Field of Schemes.” It’s a book detailing how he says “stadium swindles turn public money into private profit.”

“Study after study shows there are better ways of getting bang for your buck than building a pro sports stadium,” he said.

After seeing bad deals go down in city after city, he’s following every move Rays owner Stuart Sternberg makes.

“Clearly Sternberg has one idea that wherever the money is going to come from it’s gonna be, not from him. Or at least mostly not from him.”

PHOTO GALLERY: See renderings of proposed ballpark

The Rays could put anywhere from $150 to $400 million into the park. The higher end depends on a big "naming rights" deal. The team is also counting on investments from corporate partners.

But most agree that will leave a lot left.

“The question for me is if the public is going to put up $800 million, or even $500 million, what’s the public going to get back for it,” said deMause.

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deMause says there are a lot of examples around the country of bad stadium deals.

But he sites the San Francisco Giants stadium as one that was done right, by keeping costs low and public money minimal.

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