Tampa Bay Rays: Rob Manfred Married to Sister-City Proposal
By Seth Carter
Tampa Bay Rays’ Owner – Stuart Sternberg is set on the Rays playing half of their games in Montreal. It appears the Commissioner of Major League Baseball agrees.
The Tampa Bay Rays‘ lease with the city of St. Petersburg nearing its end in 2027 and they are working behind the scenes to keep baseball in the Tampa Bay area.
A new lease at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg seems to be out of the question. The stadium is dilapidated and in an inconvenient location for access.
The city and the Rays are currently at odds. The City has prohibited Rays’ ownership from negotiating to find another location to play their home games because the lease prohibits such activity.
The Rays are blocking the City from re-developing the valuable 86 acres they are leasing, as long as the city is blocking them.
The 86 acres of prime real estate in downtown St. Petersburg has become a potential battleground for the city and their Major League Baseball team.
Both sides are playing hardball, making it a little distracting for fans to focus on the actual hardball that is right around the corner.
Tampa Bay Times Marc Topkin reported the league’s commissioner and owners seem to be on-board with the owner, Stuart Sternberg’s sister-city proposal.
They believe it is the best course of action to preserve baseball in the Tampa area.
Commissioner Manfred is quoted by Topkin as saying,
"“I am 100 percent convinced and, more importantly, the other owners have been convinced by Stu, that this is the best way to keep Major League Baseball in Tampa Bay.”"
While it’d disheartening from one fan’s perspective. I’m glad to hear that there is a commitment to keeping the Rays in the area in some fashion. A split-city proposal is better than the team taking the field in 2028 as the Portland Ventis.
However, what if the players put together another spectacular run this year, and the fans showed up?
The reality is, it probably won’t happen and it may not matter if it did.
The sister-city proposal appears to be a good business plan. This plan is going to put the Rays in two different television markets, and they already do very well in the Tampa market.
Demand for tickets to home-games will go up since we will only have an opportunity to go to 25% of their regular-season games. I doubt that fans showing up for one year could make up for the past 20+ years.
The opportunity to raise attendance and penetrate a second television market is such a smart move, it’s like a killer platoon at first base with two mid-level standalone players. It’s the Rays’ way.
What do you think will happen?