In search of a new home for many years, the Tampa Bay Rays have now reportedly identified Tampa as the top choice in Florida. City leaders said they are open to the city’s sister project.
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Headquartered at Tropicana Field in Saint Petersburg, the Rays have been struggling to attract fans to the stands despite their recent successes, which notably have propelled them to their latest World Championship appearance. However, negotiations with this municipal administration appear to have stalled.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, along with members of the city council, argued that Tampa had now taken the lead in the eyes of club officials and that this option was more viable for the organization. And if we have to share the team with Montreal to attract the team, so be it.
“I think the more open and receptive you are to ideas, the more likely you are to materialize them,” the mayor said, according to the Tampa Bay Times daily. It’s good to be flexible.”
It’s new, it’s unusual,” board member John Dingfelder added. If we could build a cheaper, uncovered stadium and then ship the team to Montreal for the rainy season, why not? “
‘The only possible option’
Rays owner Stuart Sternberg had revealed in March that a sister cities project with Quebec City was “the only possible option”. It also highlighted the work of the Bronfman family, who are working behind the scenes to clear the way for Montreal.
However, there is still a downside if the Rays want to establish themselves in Tampa. If the mayor thought that Saint Petersburg supporters would forgive the team for this decision and would cross the bridge to come and cheer on their team, she nevertheless refused to inject public funds into the project.
“We are looking at all possibilities to fund a stadium knowing that taxpayers don’t want to use their money to build a stadium,” she warned.
After losing six World Series games to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Rays have dominated the MLS this year with a record 72-47, heading into Tuesday’s duels.
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