There is major news on the professional sports front out of the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Devil Rays have been in the market for a new stadium deal, while the community is interested in keeping their professional sports franchises. The Devil Rays deal recently cleared a major hurdle with the City of St. Petersburg. While the St. Petersburg City Council stopped short of signing off on an agreement to let the team find a new stadium site in Hillsborough County, Florida, it did let the team out of its current lease with the City at Tropicana Field, which as set to run through 2027. NBC Sports reports that team owner Stu Sternberg had threatened to sell the team to an out of state buyer if the City had refused to let the team out of its current lease with the City at Tropicana Field. Deadspin reports that St. Petersburg Major Rick Kriseman called the City Council’s decision, “an unfortunate outcome for St. Petersburg taxpayers and every fan of the Rays.” However, others disagree, calling the deal insurance that the taxpayers are going to get their money’s worth, at least in the form of another thirteen years of professional baseball in the Tampa Bay area.
The Rays deal is not the only Tampa-area professional sports franchise ready to move beyond their current stadium situation. The National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightening owner has just made plans public for a new mixed use development along Tampa’s waterfront. The plans, presented in December by hedge fund billionaire and Lightening owner Jeff Vinik, call for an investment of more than a billion dollars in hotel, retail, and office space around the team’s stadium. So far it looks like the deal will be getting the green light—local government agencies, civic organizations, and elected officials are lauding the deal as a boon to revitalize Tampa’s waterfront area.
When it comes to a mix of sports and business, like the deals underway in the Tampa Bay Area, businesses need experienced legal representation. Whether you need advice on your business dealings, or a seeking an experienced litigator to represent you in conflicts with your business partners, vendors, clients, or customers, Attorney James J. (“Jim”) Thomas II knows both the sports side and the business side. Jim has more than 35 years of courtroom experience in the Atlanta area, and has represented professional athletes, teams, and leagues, as well as many other individuals and businesses. Jim is a business litigation expert who can handle complex business litigation as well as analysis, evaluation, and resolution of existing and potential litigation including trademark infringement claims. Give Jim a call at 404-869-5248 or visit www.litigationatlanta.com online.