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The Tampa Bay Rays are staying put.
The new, $1.2 billion ballpark will be built near the current site of Tropicana Field. It’s part of a redevelopment plan for the city’s 86-acre Historic Gas Plant District.
On Sept. 8, Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg said talks with the city and county were “moving along at a very nice pace” and he was “highly optimistic” of a deal being reached by the end of the year.
The club will reportedly make an official announcement Tuesday.
Until now, the future of the Rays was uncertain. While Sternberg insisted the club remained focused on replacing the outdated Trop with a state-of-the-art facility in the Tampa Bay area, no one was quite sure how the team was going to pay for it.
Public funding for a stadium was a major hurdle because Florida Governor Ron DeSantis opposes using taxpayer dollars to build sports facilities for professional teams.
Thus, rumors of relocation began — with whispers of the team moving to Las Vegas, Nashville or even Montreal.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the new development will rely on contributions from the team, St. Petersburg and Pinellas County. And Sternberg says the team will pay for “half or more” of the project. The Rays are reportedly asking investors to contribute to the cost in exchange for shares in the team.
Tampa Bay Rays To Unveil Plans For New Ballpark
The new stadium will seat 30,000 fans. Like Tropicana Field, the ballpark will also have a fixed domed roof and artificial turf. And per renderings from the Rays and Hines Real Estate Group, the surrounding development boasts pedestrian-friendly retail space, hospitality and entertainment venues — similar to the Battery Atlanta.
The team expects the project to lead to increased revenues via higher attendance and more sponsorship deals. Team officials say these funds will also allow them to improve facilities and increase player payroll.
The Rays’ 30-year lease with Tropicana Field expires in 2027, and the new ballpark will open in 2028.