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Blog Entry

Rays owner writes email to season-ticket holders

Posted on: October 10, 2011 2:33 pm
Edited on: October 10, 2011 2:35 pm
 
By Matt Snyder

Nearly immediately after the Tampa Bay Rays were eliminated from the ALDS by the Texas Rangers, Rays principle owner Stuart Sternberg made some comments about a likely ominous future for the ballclub as things currently stand. They've made the playoffs three of the past four seasons, yet are still losing money.

Monday, Sternberg sent an email to season-ticket holders to clarify his comments. He didn't apologize or back off the statements. Far from it. Instead, he outlines the challenges ahead while also stating his gratitude to the loyal season-ticket holders.

Here is the letter in full, via TampaBay.com:
Thank you for being such a big part of a wonderfully improbable season!

I know you share my pride in our ballclub's successes over the past six seasons. We are one of three teams to reach the Postseason three out of the past four years. To do it from the AL East, while winning the East twice, makes it all the sweeter.

Rays fans support the team in many ways. Perhaps they attend a few games each year, coordinate a group outing, or watch or listen from a distance. I am grateful for each and every Rays fan.

But it is our season ticket holders who have been and continue to be our foundation. Without your loyal support, we could not begin to do what we do. I can't emphasize enough how much I appreciate the time and hard-earned money you invest in the Rays. You are the ones who support the team through thick and thin. You spread word throughout our community about the great experiences you have at Tropicana Field, as well as your memories and friendships that are connected to Rays baseball.

We all care deeply about the organization. We want it to succeed. We want it to be a fixture in Tampa Bay. We want the seats filled, the atmosphere charged, and the play on the field to be of high quality. Each Spring, we want to look forward to the bright prospects of a new season.

As in the past, I will continue to communicate with you honestly and with candor.

I became the principal owner of the Rays in 2005 because I believed that Major League Baseball could thrive in Tampa Bay. The transformation of the franchise has been breathtaking: a rebranding of the team to become the Rays, significant investments in Tropicana Field, top notch fan experience and customer service, and, of course, development of an acclaimed baseball operations department.

Just as when this organization was "under construction" back in 2005, we continue to face major challenges. At that time, I said that there were no quick, easy fixes. I asked for patience as we built the Rays from a team that had never experienced success into what it is today.

Recently, I have acknowledged that the future of the Rays and Major League Baseball in Tampa Bay is precarious. I have expressed concern about the long-term health and vitality of our franchise. When asked by the press, I did not shy away from answering questions about attendance and our future. For the sake of our franchise, we cannot ignore these questions. Doing so would be a disservice to the organization, its employees and all of its loyal supporters.

Please do not take my remarks as a complaint -- they were not intended to be. I was not pointing fingers. I was not blaming anyone. I do not mean to sound ungrateful to our fans for their support, and I certainly will not tell anyone how to spend his or her money. I was simply being forthright about a reality that must be faced. It would be easy to assure you and all Rays fans that everything will be fine, but that would be disingenuous.

It has been a thrilling past six years for the Rays. We have experienced success on the field that most everyone believed to be impossible. This success has exposed questions from which neither the Rays nor the Tampa Bay region can hide. I assure you that our organization is committed to doing all that we can to find solutions.

I am proud to be the principal owner of the Rays, and I am truly grateful for your support, dedication and passion. Thank you for being a season ticket holder. Your support does not go unnoticed by any of us within the organization.

I look forward to seeing you on Opening Day 2012 for the next edition of our Rays.

Sincerely,

Stuart Sternberg
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Comments

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 4, 2012 11:53 am
 

Rays owner writes email to season-ticket holders

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peulouy
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 17, 2011 7:55 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 7, 2011 11:20 am
 

Rays owner writes email to season-ticket holders

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Since: May 5, 2009
Posted on: October 11, 2011 6:25 pm
 

Rays owner writes email to season-ticket holders

I'm still waiting on one of these letters from any one of the three past and present Cubs owners whom I have owned season tickets with. The price goes up every year and the product goes down.Talk about in need of a thank you. I'll trade the Cubs and Wrigley for the Rays and the Trop. Classy move from a hard working owner keep those repeat customers.



Since: Oct 11, 2011
Posted on: October 11, 2011 11:06 am
 

Rays owner writes email to season-ticket holders

I agree.  Their attendance was over 1.5 million for the season.  That alone should have put them over the $41M dollar mark.  Factor in revenue sharing and there's no way Tampa is losing money.  This is the same line that a lot of the wealthy owners throw out there because they want to make their investment back and then some in a very short time frame.  



Since: May 2, 2010
Posted on: October 11, 2011 4:08 am
 

Rays owner writes email to season-ticket holders

Tampa had the 2nd lowest payroll in baseball in 2011 at $41 million.
And with revenue sharing... How can they be losing money?



Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: October 10, 2011 3:44 pm
 

Rays owner writes email to season-ticket holders

Without a stadium in the TAMPA rather than St. Petersburg area, that doesn't feel like the damp, dingy, depressing box that Tropicana is, despite the misleadingly refreshing orange name, the Rays will never be a financially feasible franchise. That may sound like something from a Dr. Seuss book but it's unfortunately true. I'm a Sox fan but I've gained a huge amount of respect for the Rays over the last 3-4 years because of the diehard way they play and build from the ground up, and the pathetic turnouts they get from game to game even in the heat of playoff races is unfortunate because the team deserves better from the fans. I think the Rays can only keep playing moneyball and relying on brilliant drafting for so long until their cornerstones (Madden, Friedman) begin leaving for greener pastures and they are forced to confront the reality of their current market.



Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: October 10, 2011 3:18 pm
 

Rays owner writes email to season-ticket holders

Very touching Stuart, did you write that after your morning swim in your private money filled pool or after your servant delivered breakfast in bed?  I`m sure the bandwagon fans that live in the area can`t wait for Rays mania 2012, however I`ll bet the roster will have a few more pay cuts like James shields & BJ Upton. Oh and rebranding?  The initial franchise had the Devil preceding it and some ultra hidious uniforms in that horrible Trop dome.  Screw you and your lousy product Stuart, go grip your $ & enjoy that till the end.  



Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: October 10, 2011 3:05 pm
 

Rays owner writes email to season-ticket holders

If these owners want fan sympathy, they need to open the books.  No one says the guy has to lose money, but until he proves that the team is losing money, no one will believe him.  The fiasco when someone inside the Marlins leaked some financial information that showed that the team was profitable from a year-to-year standpoint just raised the level of distrust.

When a team gets $30 mil+/- in revenue sharing from MLB and $25 mil+/- in natl. deal TV money from MLB before it sells a ticket or pays one person's salary, the fans have reason to be suspicious.  At the same time, I do not doubt that, with the poor attendance, other sources of reveue may not cover the tab.  Until however someone actually shows their finances and shows why they can't pay more for free agents/need a new stadium/need to relocate/whatever, I can't take them at face value.



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 10, 2011 2:42 pm
 

Rays owner writes email to season-ticket holders

In other words the owner is saying, "don't cancel your season tickets, keep going to games or I'm gonna rip this team apart, become the Florida Marlins and a training ground for big spending teams and start pocketing some of the money I deserve".

Too bad he took so many paragraphs to state the obvious......  


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