Monday, 28 May, 2018

Rays leadership wants new stadium in Tampa

Rays Reportedly Expected to Announce Intention to Relocate to Tampa's Ybor City Ybor City for new Tampa Bay Rays stadium?
Cassandra Gardner | 10 February, 2018, 05:22

"We can not be more excited in playing a role in writing the next chapter of Ybor's storied history by together building a next-generation neighborhood ballpark that integrates this vibrant and growing community".

While it came as little surprise, the Tampa Bay Rays selection of an Ybor City site near Tampas Channel District as the best spot for a new stadium is an important milestone in the effort to keep Major League Baseball.

The move comes after years of back-and-forth between the team and St. Petersburg city officials over the right to look for a stadium site outside of the city and Pinellas County.

Of St. Petersburg, where the Rays now play at Tropicana Field, Hagan said: "Ticket sales and corporate support have lagged". The coordination between Tampa and Hillsborough County has to improve, and the effort to arrange the public financing portion of this project has to be transparent. "This is where we want to be playing". The Rays are a regional asset, and it will take regional support to ensure baseball remains in Tampa Bay.

Sternberg noted that the team is still committed to St. Petersburg, as they're putting another $7 million dollars in renovations into Tropicana Field for the upcoming season, which marks the Rays' 20th anniversary. But the stadium is widely regarded as one of the worst in baseball. @HillsboroughFL commissioner Hagan and I have said for many years that we will not place the entire burden on taxpayers. In turn, that will allow the team to increase their payroll.

Suns acquire point guard Elfrid Payton from Magic for 2nd-round pick
The 26-year-old was signed under the injury hardship exemption in mid-December and the team waived point guard Mike James once that exemption wore off.


In addition to Sternberg announcing the intention of the Rays to build a new stadium, the creation of an organization called Tampa Bay Rays 2020 was also announced on Friday. The last stadium proposal included a $150 million contribution from the team's side, which is very low for something that could easily reach into the high hundreds of millions.

Obviously, Friday's announcement is just the first step toward the Rays getting a new ballpark.

The question now, as is the case with any new stadium, is how the project will be financed.

Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan has expressed his support of the Rays building "a state-of-the-art ballpark that will transform our county".

The team's lease with the city of St. Petersburg ties them to the Trop site until 2027, but St. Pete broke a stalemate with the team in 2016 by agreeing to a potential buyout option.

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