St. Petersburg, FL

Team: Tampa Bay Rays

Update: January 15, 2016: The St. Petersburg City Council has granted the Rays permission to look for potential ballpark sites on both sides of Tampa Bay. This is significant, because the Tampa side of Tampa Bay is much more heavily populated than the St. Petersburg side. Also, Tropicana Field is one of the worst parks in baseball. Interestingly enough, the agreement also has a provision that will financially benefit the Rays if they build a new park on the site of Tropicana Field. In my opinion, this deal is a win win. St. Petersburg won't look like the bad guys if the Rays decide to leave the Tampa Bay area (which I think they will), it gives the Rays flexibility to look for a better situation in the Tampa Bay area. Also, it sweetens the pot if the Rays decide to stay on the site that St. Petersburg thinks is best for a new park.

Despite the efforts of the Rays and St. Petersburg Mayor, Rick Kriseman, to come to an agreement that allow the Rays to search for a ballpark site, the City Council voted the plan down. Essentially, as the lease stands, if the Rays leave Tropicana Field, and the site is redeveloped, half of the revenues would go to the Rays with the other half going to the City. The Rays were willing to waive their claim to half the revenue in exchange for terminating their current lease.

As of now the current lease extends through 2027 and does not allow the Rays to look at ANY other site for a ballpark, including sites in St. Petersburg. With the way things are going, I am curious if we are going to see the Las Vegas Rays or the Montreal Rays in 2028.

2015-17 Paul Healey.