The announcement is certain to excite Rays’ fans as Tampa Bay has always been regarded as a low-budget club. They opened up their wallets to lock up the face of their franchise long-term, and Steve Slowinski of DRaysBay believes it was "100% the right decision."
That said, this was 100% the right decision by the Rays. As many people have mentioned in the comments here and on Twitter, Longoria is the sort of player that you build a franchise's identity around. How else are you going to increase attendance, unless you're actively working to build a fanbase and a legacy? The Rays are a young team, but now they've locked up the most important player in their franchise's history so that he'll be around his entire career.
The Rays made a statement by inking Longoria, but how did the previously tight-fisted club afford such an extension. Slowinski chalks it up to three words:
What gives? How is this possible? Three words: changing revenue streams.
Tampa Bay is getting a boost from incoming television contracts. The team will receive an additional $25 million in revenue next year from the new national television contracts, and in 2016 they’ll be renegotiating their local television deal.