Lightning finances and pro-sports lobbying
There have been a couple of articles that I've seen but haven't commented on in the past few weeks regarding the Lightning and their tax status...
The first one was in the St. Petersburg Times a couple of days ago and had the team hoping for more money written off from their taxes. This from the state level instead of the city/county level where the Lightning were in a feud with officials for a tax break in years past.
The Times followed up a few days later with Tampa mayor Pam Iorio giving support to the team's attempts to get a tax cut, and her disapproval of the team's attempts to siphon a little more money from parking revenue during Forum events.
But the article that truly got me was today's piece in the Tampa Tribune where the Lightning were contacting other state teams such as the Devil Rays in St. Pete and Jaguars in Jacksonville, in an attempt to strong arm the government into action on the issue.
I'm not aware of the precedence of this in pro sports -- where a group of teams in a state, and by group I don't mean one city in a state -- lobby the government all at once. Florida's sports as well as it's economics are devided in such a way that everything is a faction. It's not easy to find unilateral support on an issue because everyone is on a different playing field. The Orlando Magic and Florida Marlins seek new venues and have been so unsuccessful, relocation is actively being discussed by both teams. Meanwhile the Buccaneers, Dolphins and Jaguars of the NFL already are given sweetheart deals with huge government concessions. Do they want a little more? They wouldn't complain about having it... But do they need it?
Florida, at current, is a very pro-business and pro-tax-cut state... Yet with the Marlins situation, the state showed restraint in giving statewide handouts to teams. The Lightning aren't going to get far if they go it alone on this issue and yet they may only spread bad blood by trying to force the issue on the state with the backing of other pro-sports franchises in Florida.