Tampa Bay Rays propose new baseball stadium, ponder financing options

The Major League Baseball franchise wants to move its home field from St. Petersburg to an $892M stadium in Tampa's Ybor City area

Jul.July 22, 2018 10:00 AM

Rendering of proposed Tampa Bay Rays stadium in Tampa’s Ybor City area (Credit: Tampa Bay Times)

Rob Manfred, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, said he is confident the owner of the Tampa Bay Rays will make a deal to fund a new stadium for the team.

The Rays last week announced plans for an $892 million stadium with glass walls and a fixed roof in the Ybor City area of Tampa.

Rays owner Stuart Sternberg has said the team would contribute more than $150 million of the stadium’s cost. How the rest of the cost would be covered is unclear.

But Manfred told the Tampa Bay Times that he believes Sternberg is “going to get this done.”

The commissioner also told the Times that the stadium would be a “municipal asset” and said financing from private and public sources would be “completely appropriate.”

The Rays now play home games at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, where low attendance has been an ongoing issue.

Manfred acknowledged that the poor attendance at the Rays’ home games in St. Petersburg has led other Major League Baseball teams to support the Tampa-area franchise and others through a revenue-sharing plan.

Manfred also told the Times that other Major League Baseball teams subsidize both the Tampa Bay Rays and the Miami Marlins, “and we need to get them as strong as we possibly can.” The Rays plan to start playing home games at the new stadium in 2023.

The team has until the end of this year to notify the city government of St. Petersburg that it plans to leave city-owned Tropicana Field before 2027. [Tampa Bay Times]Mike Seemuth

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