New Development Could Help Tampa Bay Rays Get A New Stadium

There has been many years of courtship and speculation around the idea of moving the stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays. Now, after all this time, they are finally ready to announce that they are wanting to relocate the team over to Tampa. This news announcement was given by the Hillsborough County Commissioner. Ken Hagan broke the news earlier this month.

Stuart Sternberg, the Rays principle owner, is going to announce publicly for the first time that the preferred area for the new ballpark is for Ybor City. This is an area near the Channel District. The commissioner believes this is a huge step for the city and team. He is also extremely hopeful that this move will build more momentum in the efforts of trying to bring the Tampa Bay Rays team to Ybor. The announcement will be the start of the momentum and excitement should build even more once talks about the new design of the stadium are talked about.

Previous Announcements Of New Tampa Bay Rays Stadium

The news conference was originally held at the Tampa Baseball Museum. There were talks about the new stadium being built and ready to be used by 2022 or 2023 at the latest. However, financing for this new stadium to be built has yet to be in place. It could take many more months to get that figured out. The team does have an agreement with the City of St. Petersburg, however. This agreement will let the team search for a new ballpark to move to through the end of January of 2019. A spokesperson for the Rays team did not want to comment further on this subject.

Comments From Rays President About The Stadium Move

It was said by the Mayor of St. Petersburg that the Rays president told him the team was trying to focus their attentions on moving to the Ybor site because they think it would be in the best interest of the team and all involved. But, there is much to think about and the decision is not final. Mayor Kriseman had hoped the team would consider staying in his town at the new ballpark redone at the Tropicana Field. But it continues to be a tough sell for the Tampa Bay Rays and the Major League Baseball industry. They soured on that location for a while because of the decline in ticket sales.

Hagan’s Confidence

Hagan has added that he is confident that Tampa would offer more fan support and more involvement from the local business community. Local business leaders also planned to unveil a new corporate campaign which will guarantee the team ticket sales and sponsorships. This is a major determining factor which could determine how much the Rays would be able to contribute towards the stadium.

What Is Going To Happen To Tropicana Field?

Now that the talks of moving the Rays to Ybor are about set in stone, there are new talks about what is going to happen to the Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Right now, there is no definite decision as to what is going to happen with the field. The Rays want to build a new stadium on the St. Pete waterfront and name it the “sail stadium” because of the sail-like covering it has.

There had been years of hostility between the team and the local political leadership. However, it has died down after the election of the new city councilors and a new mayor who is more open to negotiating the move of the team. The old mayor didn’t want to negotiate the previous agreement that was iron-clad and prohibited the Rays from considering other stadium sites outside of the county of Pinellas.

Who Is Going To Pay For This Expensive Project?

The team is hoping that a big portion of the cost of the project for their new stadium is going to be taken care of by public funding. This has been the case for other stadiums in the past. When talking about “public” funding, it means it is coming from county, state and city funding. However, the new Florida legislature is beginning to be a little reluctant on spending a lot on projects such as this one. Funding from local governments typically involves them borrowing for the construction and then paying the debts off over the years in the form of many general revenues. However, more often than not, the debts are paid back from some form of dedicated revenue stream such as a special tax.