“Sense of Urgency” to Find Rays a New Home

At the quarterly owners meeting this week, Commissioner Manfred stated that putting the kibosh on the Rays’ Tampa Bay/Montreal two city plan means there’s now a “sense of urgency” to find them new digs, emphasizing that said digs should be in the Tampa Bay Area. I’d have thought the Rays playing in a universally panned venue, a lease expiring after the 2027 season, and that building a new stadium often takes up to 5 years might create that sense of urgency—but that’s just me.

Coincidental timing or not, the Tampa Sports Authority reported results of a study on the cost of a baseball stadium plan they are considering. The park would be located in the Ybor City area of Tampa—at the intersection of Paris and Nebraska Aves. That’s right by I-275 as well. There would be 23K permanent seats and expanded capacity to 27K with temp seats and SRO. The report also indicates there would be a parking garage and that the venue would also be used for concerts and other events. With a fixed roof, the price tag would be around $900M ($799M minus the roof, but you sit through 100 degrees and 95% humidity and see how you like it).

The report did not indicate how much would be funded by Tampa/Hillsborough County. However, bringing the idea of it being a multipurpose venue tends to indicate most of the cost would be publicly funded. As a reminder, Raymond James Stadium (the football stadium for the Buccaneers) was funded via a 1 cent sales tax addition. It was bundled with infrastructure, school, police, and fire department funding increases on a voter referendum—a voter referendum that failed the year prior minus the football stadium.

My joke has been they should just dismantle the Rangers’ old stadium and rebuild it in Florida—it’s newer than Tropicana.

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