Rays may be willing to pitch in much more than first reported to build new stadium

Hillsborough County
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The Tampa Bay Rays have a big dream to build the smallest stadium in Major League Baseball.

The dream stadium would stand in a corner of Ybor City that is currently occupied mostly by warehouses that have been empty for years.

The price tag for the stadium is more than $890 million.

Rays principal owner Stu Sternberg indicated more than a month ago the team would be willing to pitch in $150 million for construction, but for some that figure wasn’t enough.

Wednesday, Jason Woody, who is a part of the Rays 2020 initiative, indicated Sternberg is willing to put in much more for construction under the right conditions.

“If we get sponsorship and we get ticket sales, I’m in for $400 million. That’s kind of a different conversation,” Woody quoted Sternberg as saying.

A Tampa Bay Rays front office person says she had not heard Sternberg say he’s willing to put in $400 million, but did indicate the teams principal owner may be willing to contribute more than the $150 million contribution that has been widely reported.

“Everyone is hung on that 150 and he said if it had to be more than that he was more than willing to do that,” said Woody.

The Tampa Bay Rays have until Dec. 31 to work out a deal to build their stadium in Ybor City or their agreement to look outside of St. Petersburg expires with that city.

Woody says Sternberg’s contribution will depend on a variety of factors.

“He said, ‘hey listen, I’ll be in for much more than that if I got a big naming sponsor.’ If someone stepped up and named, as far as the new ballpark, the x, y, z ballpark for x millions, for a 5, 10, 15, 25 year commitment, he said, ‘I’m willing to step up with that money too,'” said Woody.

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