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Facing Overwhelming Public Opposition for PawSox Deal, What is Next for Owners

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

 

PawSox Owners

The owners of the PawSox are now faced with reality.

Less than 30 percent of Rhode Islanders support the proposed financing for the new stadium in Pawtucket.

Voters in every demographic group, from every region of the state, from Democrats, to Republicans and Independent voters, all overwhelmingly oppose the structure that would put the ultimate obligation for over $80 millions on Rhode Island taxpayers.

Latest in PawSox Saga

The ownership group — which includes some of the richest businessmen in New England  — continues to refuse to assume the financial responsibility for the deal.

The group of owners of the PawSox are worth an estimated $8 to $10 billion and depending on how you book the value of Fenway Sports Management (a division of the Boston Red Sox’ parent company, Fenway Sports Group) which has an ownership position in the PawSox, the net worth may be even higher.  Note: John Henry’s net worth is reported at $2.5 billion, according to Forbes.

The ownership group has tried a number of tactics to try and garner support. The PawSox have reverted to the threat of moving the team out of Rhode Island. The late Jim Skeffington who led the PawSox ownership group effort to place the team in Providence in 2015, and requested $140 million in public subsidies, repeatedly threatened to move the team. 

Under now-PawSox Chairman Larry Lucchino, the group has intimated that both Worcester and Springfield, Massachusetts are possible options. Reality is that Springfield is too far from an airport, and Governor Charlie Baker says he opposes using public funds for building a private stadium.

As former Providence Journal Editorial Page Editor and now GoLocal Columnist Robert Whitcomb wrote this summer: "The latest plan, one endorsed by Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, to help finance a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox, isn’t all that different from earlier ones. In the end, the state would be on the hook if the project doesn’t work out because of future declining interest in baseball, problems in Pawtucket, business cycles or other reasons.

A covered stadium that could accommodate all sorts of sports and other events year-round would have much more chance of long-term economic success than the proposed uncovered one but the PawSox owners, although they are all rich, don’t want to pay for that. Who can blame them?

Would the economic benefits  of a new stadium extend beyond a few blocks of the proposed stadium site?"

Three different polls conducted over 3 years

Public Opposition to the Financing Plan

The poll conducted by John Della Volpe of Harvard by his firm SocialSphere mirrored other polls conducted in the past on the issue of public financing for the proposed PawSox stadium. The poll was sponsored exclusively by GoLocalProv.com.

"Recently, a proposal has been made to permit the issuance of $81 million in bonds by the State to build a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox. If there was an election today on this issue, would you vote to approve or reject issuing $81 million in financing supported moral obligation bonds to build the stadium?"

Approve: 28%

Reject: 67% 

Don't know: 4%

The poll results were relative to public financing for PawSox stadium was not unlike two other polls conducted previously in Rhode Island.

On Tuesday night, Senate Finance will take the PawSox proposal up again. This is the seventh hearing on the proposal. There will be no public comment taken at this meeting. It will consist of testimony from — and inquiry of — parties the committee has asked to testify, including the Department of Administration, Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, and the Department of Revenue, Division of Municipal Finance. There will be no public comment allowed. It can be viewed on the RI General Assembly website.                    

It is widely expected the Senate Finance Committee will pass the financing scheme.  Senate Finance Committee Chairman William J. Conley Jr. (D-Dist. 18, East Providence, Pawtucket) has strongly expressed his support for the project. And, Senate President Dominick Ruggerio has repeatedly said he supports the project. 

Governor Gina Raimondo and Speaker Nick Mattiello

Mattiello and Raimondo -- Voter Approval

According to a member of the House leadership “There are not ten votes on the floor for this deal.” Speaker of the House Nick Mattiello has voiced concerns about the deal, the cost, and the potential of sending it to the voters for approval in the election of 2018. It should be noted that Governor Gina Raimondo, who favors the financing package told the Providence Journal that she is open to the question going before the voters in 2018.

SEE FULL BENCHMARK POLL BELOW

 

Related Slideshow: GoLocal: Benchmark Poll, October 2017

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Sponsor: GoLocalProv

Sample: N=403

Rhode Island General Election Voters Margin of Error: +/- 4.9% at 95% Confidence Level

Interviewing Period: October 9-11, 2017

Mode: Landline (61%) and Mobile (39%)

Telephone Directed by: John Della Volpe, SocialSphere, Inc.

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Are you registered to vote at this address?

Yes: 100%

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When it comes to voting, do you consider yourself to be affiliated with the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, Moderate, or Unaffiliated with a major party?

Unaffiliated: 49%

Democrat: 32%

Republican: 15%

Moderate: .4%

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Next year, in November of 2018, there will be a statewide general election for Governor and many other state offices. How likely is it that you will vote in this election?

Will you definitely be voting, will you probably be voting, are you 50-50...

Definitely be voting: 78%

Probably be voting: 13%

50-50: 9%

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In general, would you say things in Rhode Island are headed in the right direction or are they off on the wrong track?

Right track: 39%

Wrong track: 45%

Mixed: 10%

Don't know/Refused: .6%

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What would you say is the number one problem facing Rhode Island that you would like the Governor to address?

Jobs and economy:  21%

Education: 12%

Taxes: 12%

Roads: 12%

State budget: 9%

Corruption/Public integrity: .8%

Healthcare: 3%

Governor: 3%

Homelessness: 2%

Immigration: 2%

Other: 7%

Don’t know: .9%

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Over the past three years or so, would you say the economy in Rhode Island has improved, gotten worse, or not changed at all?

Changed for the better: 35%

Changed for the worse: 16%

Not changed at all: 43%

Don't know/Refused: 5%

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Over the same time, has your family's financial situation improved, gotten worse, or not changed at all?

Changed for the better: 26%

Changed for the worse: 19%

Not changed at all: 54%

Don't know/Refused: 1%

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Recently, a proposal has been made to permit the issuance of $81 million in bonds by the State to build a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox. If there was an election today on this issue, would you vote to approve or reject issuing $81 million in financing supported moral obligation bonds to build the stadium?

Net: Approve: 28%

Definitely approve: 15%

Probably approve: 14%

Net: Reject: 67%

Probably reject: 19%

Definitely reject: 48%

Don't know: 4%

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Could you please tell me your age?

18-24: 7%

25-34: 15%

35-44: 15%

45-54: 20%

55-64: 17%

65+: 25%

Don't know/refused: 1%

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What was the last grade you completed in school?

0-11: 2%

High school grad: 16%

Technical/Vocational school: 1%

Some college: 23%

College grad: 34%

Graduate degree: 24%

Don't know/refused: 1%

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The next question is about the total income of YOUR HOUSEHOLD for the PAST 12 MONTHS. Please include your income PLUS the income of all members living in your household (including cohabiting partners and armed forces members living at home).

$50,000 or less: 27%

More $50,000 but less than $75,000: 13%

More $75,000 but less than $100,000: 13%

More $100,000 but less than $150,000: 17%

$150,000 or more: 13%

Don't know/refused: 17%

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What particular ethnic group or nationality - such as English, French, Italian, Irish, Latino, Jewish, African American, and so forth - do you consider yourself a part of or feel closest to?

American/None: 21%

English: 13%

Italian: 13%

Irish: 12%

Black or African American: 6%

Latino/Hispanic: 6%

French: 6%

Portuguese: 3%

Jewish: 3%

German: 1%

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Would you say that Donald Trump has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as President?


Excellent: 13%
Good: 12%
Fair: 14%
Poor: 57%
Never heard of:  0%
Cannot rate: 3%

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Would you say that Jack Reed has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a United States Senator?

Excellent: 22%
Good: 29%
Fair: 23%
Poor: 15%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate: 6%

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Would you say that Sheldon Whitehouse has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a United States Senator?

Excellent: 17%
Good: 22%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 28%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate: 7%

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Would you say that David Cicilline has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a Member of Congress?

Excellent: 9%
Good: 29%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 27%
Never heard of: 6%
Cannot rate:  8%

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Would you say that James Langevin has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as a Member of Congress?

Excellent: 7%
Good: 30%
Fair: 20%
Poor: 18%
Never heard of: 13%
Cannot rate: 11%

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Would you say that Gina Raimondo has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Governor?

Excellent: 6%
Good: 28%
Fair: 30%
Poor: 31%
Never heard of: 1%
Cannot rate: 3%

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Would you say that Daniel McKee has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Lieutenant Governor?


Excellent: 3%
Good: 16%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 8%
Never heard of: 26%
Cannot rate: 25%

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Would you say that Peter Kilmartin has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Attorney General?


Excellent: 3%
Good: 20%
Fair: 28%
Poor: 17%
Never heard of: 13%
Cannot rate: 19%

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Would you say that Seth Magaziner has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as General Treasurer?

Excellent: 4%
Good: 18%
Fair: 24%
Poor: 13%
Never heard of: 21%
Cannot rate: 21%

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Would you say that Nellie Gorbea has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Secretary of State?

Excellent: 5%
Good: 21%
Fair: 21%
Poor: 10%
Never heard of: 20%
Cannot rate: 23%

Prev Next

Would you say that Jorge Elorza has done an excellent good, fair or poor job as Mayor of Providence?

Excellent: 4%
Good: 24%
Fair: 24%
Poor: 22%
Never heard of: 9%
Cannot rate: 15%

 
 

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