In a move sure to increase property value in Charlotte County, The Tampa Bay Devil Rays have struck a deal with county officials to bring their team to the Charlotte Sports Park for spring training beginning in 2009.
This deal removes a huge burden from property tax payers because the stadium is in desperate need of tens of millions of dollars of repair and upgrading. Now the county can apply to the state for $15 million grant. In addition, the Devil Rays will contribute $10 million over 20 years.
Furthermore, the Rays will provide free advertising for our area in their team magazine given away fans at Tropicana Field. They will play a video before each game at Tropicana Field touting the beauty of Charlotte County and encouraging Rays fans to visit, not just for spring training games, but all year!
The Rays have also agreed to share the stadium with the county, enabling the use of the stadium and park for other purposes such as concerts and fairs. The former tenant, The Texas Rangers insisted on exclusive use of the facilities.
The combination of the state grant, Devil Rays rental fees and various other uses for the facilities will make the park a center of interest. Its proximity to the new Murdock Village development will also add to interest in our area. When teams such as the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins visit our town each spring, reports in those cities newspapers and TV stations will mention Port Charlotte. Baseball fans around the nation will once again be hearing about Charlotte County and Port Charlotte. This will spill over to Rotonda, Englewood, Northport and other areas. It will be one more reason for people to choose Charlotte County when they think Florida.