Rays stadium hunt heats up
Pieces are falling into place for the Rays to train at a new complex in Pasco County and play 40 home games a year in a new Ybor City stadium.
- Both venues could be connected to the region via a network of trains, bike lanes and ferry services scheduled to be in place by 2030.
- And Tampa area lawmakers have requested nearly $30 million from the state to pay for public transportation and pedestrian safety enhancements around the potential stadium site.
Driving the news: A spate of recent developments suggest the Rays' Ybor City stadium project is picking up momentum as 2027 approaches, the year the team's lease expires at St. Pete's Tropicana Field.
Catch up quick: Tampa Mayor Jane Castor met just last week with Rays owner Stu Sternberg to talk Ybor City and the Rays called it "very productive," per the Tampa Bay Times.
- Castor then announced plans to meet "very soon" with the Rays and the Tampa Sports Authority to discuss funding, evidently in the works for months.
State of play: The Times noted that both Castor and Senate President Wilton Simpson said the Rays were looking at eastern Pasco for a training complex.
- Trilby-native Simpson said state funding wouldn't be hard if the deal was right.
- Commissioner Mike Moore, chairman of the county's Tourist Development Council, tells Axios he's excited at the prospect and looks forward to "continuing the conversations."
Why it matters: The Rays have shopped for sites in Ybor for at least four years and for training sites in Pasco's Wiregrass Ranch area for "several years," per the Times.
- What's different? A willing developer has invited the Rays to play ball.
- Ybor developer Darryl Shaw, whose Gas Worx plan would accommodate a new stadium in an urban neighborhood, approves of the Sister Cities plan the Rays have committed to, his rep tells Axios.
What we're watching: The money. Rays president Brian Auld is saying the stadium will cost ~$700 million and the Rays will pay half.
💰 That leaves a steep tab for a town that knows how to complain.
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