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Rays New Stadium: Team Announces Plans For Domed Ballpark In Downtown St. Petersburg » TheSportsDay Rays New Stadium: Team Announces Plans For Domed Ballpark In Downtown St. Petersburg » TheSportsDay

Rays new stadium: Team announces plans for domed ballpark in downtown St. Petersburg

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The Tampa Bay Rays have been attempting to put together plans for a new ballpark for upwards of 16 years, and it appears the saga has finally come to a conclusion. On Tuesday, the Rays announced an agreement with St. Petersburg and Pinellas County for a new ballpark in downtown St. Petersburg, near the site of Tropicana Field.

“Major League Baseball is here to stay, right here,” Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said during Tuesday’s press conference (per the Tampa Bay Times).

“Today is a day of celebration for our community,” St. Petersburg mayor Ken Welch said Tuesday (per the Tampa Bay Times). “Excited to say our Rays are here to stay.”  

Those who have been following this story for years likely have the year 2027 burned into their brains, because that’s when the lease at Tropicana Field is done and the Rays have been unable to wiggle out of that. That means the ballpark the Rays are planning to build will need to be ready for the start of the 2028 season. 

This comes about a week-and-a-half after Sternberg expressed optimism that a new ballpark deal was close and that the team is going to pay for “half or more” the expected $1.2 billion cost of the ballpark. The agreement announced Tuesday still requires approval by the city council and county commission, though no hang-ups are expected.

Some of the details of the proposed ballpark, via the Tampa Bay Times:

The location is notable because one of the things we heard for years about the Rays’ attendance woes was that the location in St. Petersburg was bad and they’d draw more fans on a regular basis if the new ballpark was located in Tampa. It appears redevelopment in the area might have changed the calculus. 

The biggest takeaway here, though, is that this plan would keep the Rays in the area and silence the whispers of them permanently moving of splitting their time between Tampa Bay and Montreal.