Tampa Bay Rays Strike a Deal for a New Stadium in St. Petersburg

Tampa Bay Rays reliever Robert Stephenson (R) hugs catcher Christian Bethancourt in July 2023
Tampa Bay Rays reliever Robert Stephenson (R) hugs catcher Christian Bethancourt in July 2023. Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI/Shutterstock (14003367j)

The Tampa Bay Rays are not going anywhere. According to multiple reports, the franchise managed to strike a deal with the city of St. Petersburg, Florida, for a new stadium.

Rays’ new ballpark is expected to cost $1.2 billion and will be opened in 2028. The stadium will come with a fixed dome and is expected to seat 30,000 spectators.

The Rays have been playing at St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field since the team’s inaugural MLB season in 1998. The 30-year lease is set to expire in 2027, and the franchise didn’t show any intention of renewing it.

Due to Tropicana Field’s less-than-satisfactory condition and poor attendance, the MLB has tried to come up with several different options for the Rays in recent years. There have been talks about relocation as well as splitting the season between St. Petersburg and Montreal. However, neither of those options got any major traction.

The new stadium guarantees that Tampa Bay Rays will remain in St. Petersburg for the foreseeable future. It might also help with the attendance struggles as the ballpark will likely have many more attractions and offer a better baseball-viewing experience than Tropicana Field.

The Rays have already clinched a playoff spot for the 2023 season, currently owning a 92-59 record and sitting at the No. 2 in AL East. This is the fifth consecutive year in which the Rays will be in the postseason.

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