Rays announce plans to move to Tampa, but need money

Thomson Reuters

For the entire 20 years of their existence, the Tampa Bay Rays have actually played in St. Petersburg, Fla. It appears the team is finally coming home.

Club officials, led by owner Stuart Sternberg, announced at a news conference Friday that the team plans to build a new stadium at a 14-acre site at Ybor City, a historic and trendy neighborhood in Tampa.

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The move has numerous hurdles, most notably funding. The club also announced the formation of the organization Tampa Bay Rays 2020, a nonprofit which will attempt to raise public support, and ultimately money, for a stadium estimated to cost in the $700 million range.

The Rays have stated in the past they will pay $150 million of the cost.

There is also no timetable in place as to when the stadium will be built, thanks in large part to the financing questions. The team on Wednesday unveiled a new logo and merchandise to commemorate its 20 years.

The news is particularly noteworthy because the club's current home, Tropicana Field, is widely regarded as the worst in MLB. The Rays also regularly finish last in baseball in home attendance, including each of the last three seasons.

--Field Level Media