ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said the time is now to make a decision about the future Tampa Bay Rays stadium. Manfred shared his thoughts on Thursday after the quarterly owner's meetings.
The lease with Tropicana Field is set to expire after the 2027 season. Although that sounds far away, Manfred emphasized it takes a lot of time to build a stadium.
St. Pete mayor Ken Welch’s team released the following statement regarding the topic:
“We remain optimistic about reaching a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays regarding their future in St. Petersburg. We have renewed the city’s relationship with team leaders and have had several productive conversations.”
The City of Tampa's mayor Jane Castor’s team also released the following statement:
"We feel very confident that the Rays will stay in the Tampa Bay area. Hillsborough County, the city, and Tampa Sports Authority continue to look at financing options, but we're trying to get a better understanding of the team's design expectations for a full-season stadium."
A representative with the city of St.Petersburg also shared that there will be an announcement on or before June 30th regarding the city’s next steps in the Trops development process.
Local business owners we spoke to said they are hoping the team stays in the area. They are hoping a decision is made sooner rather than later.
“We have the land, we have money to get it done,” said Mark Ferguson, the owner of Ferg’s Sports Bar.
Another Rays fan we spoke to also said she's hoping the team sticks around town.
“I think it just adds a lot to the city," said Carla Taylor.