What’s the future of the Rays in St. Petersburg? City leaders discuss options

Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Fresh off their 3-1 victory over the Yankees, all eyes are on the Tampa Bay Rays and their exciting season this year.

The team is generating plenty of buzz having won 16 of the last 17 games.

“They’re a big team, you know, and I think it brings a lot of sports fans to this area. Especially, since they nearly won the world series this past year,” fan Sam Dudick told 8 On Your Side earlier this year.

But the Rays future in the city they call home remains uncertain. Talk about the team moving out of Pinellas County has been on and off the table for years.

There were discussions about building a new stadium and moving the team to Ybor City, but that plan died. There was also talk of splitting the season. The team would host half its games in Florida and the other half in Montreal.

Allegations of a secret Montreal deal involving Rays’ principal owner Stu Sternberg are fueling more speculation about the team’s future. Part of a lawsuit filed by some minority owners accuse Sternberg of cooking the books and violating the team’s lease at Tropicana Field by negotiating with potential Montreal owners in 2014.

The team’s lease at Tropicana Field runs through 2027. City leaders are exploring options to redevelop the stadium’s 86-acre site. Mayor Rick Kriseman announced the following two finalists for the project in May.

“You know, this is Tampa Bay and the Rays are our team. I love the Rays and we’d love to see them stay,” said Rays fan Greg Roberson.

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