TAMPA, Florida - Hoping to break the impasse in the Rays' stadium saga, the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce voted Thursday to forge ahead with an effort to study how to build a stadium in the current economic climate.
"You can kind of get away right now from location," said chairman Chuck Sykes, saying the board wasn't advocating a Tampa location. "We don't think that's the way to approach it right now. We think we need to look more at finances."
Click here for previous coverage of the Stadium Saga
Sykes was also a member of the ABC Coalition, which was cut-off from the municipality that created it after it began to explore the possibility of a stadium outside of St. Petersburg.
The Chamber doesn't plan on going down the same road, instead focusing on the single-biggest hurdle in getting a stadium built in this era: its $500-million-plus price tag.
"Debt is very difficult to get a hold of," Sykes continued. "People don't want (taxes). What else can you do?"
Sykes said there were other funding alternatives to explore, some of which could even potentially keep the Rays in St. Petersburg for generations to come.
He also said Tampa businesses benefit from the team, regardless of where it plays in the region.
"Think about the image (the Rays) create for our community," Sykes said. "We think it makes this a great place to be."
Sykes also said his Tampa company touts the Rays in presentations about the region. He points out the city's residents and businesses get to enjoy the team without having to pay for it, so those that want to move the team across Tampa Bay should "be careful of what you wish for."
Follow 10 News reporter Noah Pransky on Twitter at www.twitter.com/noahpransky, Facebook at www.facebook.com/noahpransky, or on his Sports Business blog, Shadow of the Stadium.