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The Rays latest stadium problem: they don’t have a permit for their billboard

Aug 20, 2013, 2:01 PM EDT

Texas Rangers v Tampa Bay Rays - Game 3

Sometimes it seems like everyone is out to get the Rays:

The Florida Department of Transportation has cried foul over advertisements for other businesses the ball club places on its electronic billboard overlooking Interstate 275. Under state law, signs that overlook a highway can advertise only stores and businesses at that location, unless specially permitted.

So the Rays, which has never had a permit for the sign, can use the 114-foot high billboard to advertise its ball games, events and concerts at the Trop. It can even advertise Chick-fil-A and other businesses with outlets at the stadium.

Advertisements such as one state transportation officials spotted for a local car dealership are off limits without a special permit, though, state officials say.

Meanwhile, St. Petersburg is still ready to drop the hammer on the Rays if they even talk to anyone else about moving.

  1. sheriffpeyton18 - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Move the team!!! They and the fans deserve better!! I hate going to that stadium and the field is so ugly!

    • poprox13 - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:56 PM

      look on the bright side, you dont have to fight the crowds other teams do.

      • jcmeyer10 - Aug 20, 2013 at 4:48 PM

        Bridges are a much bigger pain in the butt.

      • leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Aug 20, 2013 at 11:19 PM

        Unfortunately it feels like we do thanks to the awful location and highway planning. I have an easier time getting to Lightning games despite being in another county and averaging thousands more fans per game.

  2. northstarsmitty - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    What a stupid law. When states force businesses to buy permits, licenses, etc. to do basic things that now limit them to paying the bully of the state, that is idiotic to me. Anyways, the Rays desrve the hammer. I love them as a team. That is why I want this. Let it be a lesson to basic knowledge. Why on earth did the Rays contract a team that would build such a hideous, bad stadium? History is evident that unless in harsh climates, baseball is an outdoor sport and should be enjoyed that way. They could have done better. To top it off, the design and everything inside looks old, unappealing. The metrodome (which is the biggest pile of junk around still) would give it a run for its money for being nicer. When so much money, time, investment is spent on such a project, there should be no room for failure. If you or I screwed up counting drawers, incorrect financial reports, etc. in our jobs, we would be canned. Same should apply for these huge expensive projects. Places like the new Nets arena, tropicana, new marlins stadium, shouldn’t be allowed to be built to such a disaster

    • raysfan1 - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:01 PM

      1) The stadium was there 10 years or so prior to the Devil Rays’ first season. The original team owners did not design or build it.
      2) The presence of a stadium that met MLB standards at the time is part of why St Pete got the team in the first place. Also, the SF Giants were going to move there in the early 1990’s until MLB nixed it; the expansion Devil Rays were also partly a reward for the city and the ownership group not suing over the Giants’ aborted move.
      3) The requirement for a permit for off-site advertising is not intended to restrain trade, it’s to raise revenues from billboard advertisers.

  3. pappageorgio - Aug 20, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    Traditionally, Florida is not the first place I think of when I think of crooked politicians and corrupt politics.

    They sure are moving up my list quickly though.

    • deepstblu - Aug 20, 2013 at 3:11 PM

      A couple years ago the Sarasota paper tried to recruit reporters by promising “We have all kinds of corruption, violence and scumbaggery.” Among other things:

      • joelgold - Aug 20, 2013 at 5:36 PM

        I’n not even a journalist and I want to work for those guys!

  4. mattymatty - Aug 20, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    It’s actually a very sensible law and many states and localities have variations of it on the books. It essentially prevents people and businesses from turning their front lawns into giant billboards. Think how unsightly and ultimately detrimental to business (not to mention people’s lives) it would be if anyone could put up a bunch of advertising signs. So keeping it to businesses on the premises is a sensible way to handle it.

    Also, I’m guessing (though I don’t know) the Rays could apply for an exemption but they’ve just never bothered to do so.

    • hockeyflow33 - Aug 20, 2013 at 5:35 PM

      Imagine the horror of actually having rights to the property you purchased

      • mattymatty - Aug 20, 2013 at 6:08 PM

        Oh please. People have limited rights to all things they own because of the impact it has on others. You can’t drive your car on the sidewalk so your rights are infringed! Well they are, and in that instance that’s a good thing. Think of the many things you can’t do on your front lawn, not because it would necessarily be bad for you to do them, but because of the negative impact it would have on your neighbors. Zoning exists for this (and other) reasons. This Florida law (though it is by no means only a Florida law) is an extension of that.

      • hockeyflow33 - Aug 20, 2013 at 8:23 PM

        You don’t own the sidewalk so I’m not sure how that’s relevant

      • raysfan1 - Aug 20, 2013 at 9:05 PM

        The zoning issue is valid, however. You cannot put up a billboard in your front lawn in a residential neighborhood just because it is your property.

        Besides, this law does not prevent them from selling advertising–it requires them to have a permit, ie pay a fee to the state. It is at its base an advertising tax that applies to all billboard owners in the state.

      • hockeyflow33 - Aug 21, 2013 at 12:39 AM

        Yea, I’m not confused as to what it is.

  5. Old Gator - Aug 20, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    Unfortunately, the whores in Tallahassee, at the orders of their big-money pimps in the display and advertising industry, recently passed a law making it legal to set up billboards pretty much anywhere, local ordinances and beautification codes be damned. This would even make it impossible for the state to order the tearing down of the Trap on the basis of how hideous it is. Ah well. The Razed appear mired in their gunite Morlock doggery until the universe runs out of gas and the expansion of spacetime reverses itself.

    • unclemosesgreen - Aug 20, 2013 at 5:51 PM

      So you’re saying, about three weeks more or less?

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