As we know, the Rays appear to be deadset on moving half of the team’s home games to Montreal. Ideally, Rays’ fans would like to see them just move closer to the center of their fanbase’s population, like in Tampa Bay…
As the tension grows between the city of St. Petersburg and Rays’ owner, Stuart Sternberg, it seems very unlikely the Rays will have anything to do with the St. Pete in 2028. However, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor met with Rays’ officials on Monday to discuss a plan to move the Rays to Tampa.
Mayor Castor is open to the idea of letting the Rays play half of their games in Montreal. It’s a concession the Rays are forcing upon the city under the threat of “share or you don’t get any.”
Why Sister-City Plan Makes Sense for the Rays
Rays President Brian Auld said after the meeting with Tampa officials,
"“We’ve come up with a way to nearly double our revenue streams by bringing in another market.”"
Here’s how the Sister-City plan should increase revenue:
- The 2019 Nielsen DMA ratings reveal that Tampa Bay is the 11th largest designated market area in the country, just behind Atlanta and Boston.
- Montreal’s TV market will give the Rays two massive tv deals.
- Split home games should – in theory – increase demand and give attendance a bump in both places, thus raising overall attendance numbers.
The illogicality of sharing Rays with Canada
- Veteran Free Agents are not going to live in two countries during the season. Star players from across the league spoke out against the idea during last year’s all-star break.
- The Players’ Union should have something to say about the Rays forcing all of their $500,000/year players to finance two homes in two countries. Not every major leaguer is able to parlay their league-minimum salary into a multi-million dollar contract. These kids need to save every dollar they can. It would be a distinct disadvantage for a player matriculating through the Rays’ system compared to other organizations.
- The disruption. One of the main points brought up by the players is the disruption of moving your family to another country and all that goes into moving, all while you are attempting to focus on playing baseball at the most elite level in the world.
It should be interesting to follow the developments in this story. The Rays will either move to Tampa full time, move to another city full time, or go forward with the split-city idea. For now, it’s time to focus on the actual playing of baseball, but Rays’ fans will be keeping their eyes peeled for more news regarding the future of their team.
Rays’ ownership appears to have their eyes focused on reaping the revenue that will come from two TV contracts. The only thing they have to lose is fans.
Pitchers and catchers report tomorrow.