* The Rays, as we know, have been using the Atlanta Braves as a model of sorts for a new baseball stadium. That was underscored in the spring when Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan and county CFO Bonnie Wise visited with Braves’ executives in suburban Atlanta. We also know that what Hillsborough County is modeling is financing–not site.
The Braves are Exhibit A for public-private partnership. Cobb County borrowed about two thirds, or nearly $400 million, while the Braves anted up around $230 million. As for site, the Rays and Hillsborough County want an urban-core location, the Braves notably departed Atlanta for Cobb County.
One interesting, even ironic, variable about a potential Channelside-Ybor City area site for the Rays is the lack of public input from Jeff Vinik. He’s the master developer of the Amalie Arena area that has ripple effects all over. It’s all, in effect, part of the same logistical synergy. Perhaps a stadium is more conflict than complement for Water Street Tampa.
* The main issue with HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” which can be entertaining as it goes behind the scenes and personalizes professional football, is that it is yet another reminder that the NFL is as much show business as it is football.
* So, Kevin Durant of the NBA-champion Golden State Warriors, says he won’t join teammates in a White House visit. Here’s a way around any awkwardness that can inevitably result from such visitations. The White House should set a precedent right now that it only invites athletes representing their country–such as Olympians–and not over-exposed pro athletes representing their franchises and, in many cases, their marketable brands.
* The Americans retained the Solheim Cup, the biennial competition that pits U.S. women golfers against their European counterparts. Once again, a key American contributor was Seminole’s Brittany Lincicome.