10Investigates' Noah Pransky has followed the Tampa Bay Rays' stadium saga for nearly 10 years.
The Rays unveiled artist renderings for their proposed $809 million stadium in Ybor City on July 10. Along with "necessary infrastructure," the total cost would be $892 million.
As the possibility of getting a new stadium gets closer, we wanted to look back at how we got here.
Spring 2008: Team moves forward with plans for new stadium, which would require voter approval to build on city’s waterfront. Sale of Tropicana Field and redevelopment money, as well as $150 million from team owner Stu Sternberg, would cover $450 million price tag.
June 25, 2008: Rays back out of plan to go to ballot in fall, with it seemingly more and more likely question would be defeated.
2009: St. Pete commissions “A Baseball Community” group, better known as the “ABC Coalition” of leaders from both sides of Tampa Bay to examine what’s best for the future of baseball in St. Pete. The group spends more than a year and concludes a new ballpark somewhere between the “Gateway” region of Mid-Pinellas and Downtown Tampa would be the best location to increase attendance at games.
June 21, 2010: Rays owner Stu Sternberg holds a press conference to deliver ultimatum that team needs permission from St. Pete to examine any and all possible new locations for a stadium, and will only consider new St. Pete sites when it can also consider Tampa sites. At the time, the team’s contract with St. Pete prohibited it from looking outside city limits.
Oct. 11, 2011: Minutes after the Tampa Bay Rays were sent home from the playoffs for the second straight year by the Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay owner Stuart Sternberg expressed his disappointment in the local support for the club, reiterating that the franchise's future in the area is in an untenable situation.
Oct. 1, 2014: Once again, the Hillsborough County Commission tried to prepare itself for a possible new Rays stadium, even though the city of St. Petersburg did not give the team nor the county permission to interfere with its contract.
July 2015: Hillsborough County's lead negotiator, Ken Hagan, points to the Braves’ controversial deal outside Atlanta as a “template” for the Rays’ negotiations. The deal was cut behind-closed-doors and cost Cobb Co. taxpayers more than $400 million.
Oct. 2, 2017: The Rays finished with the lowest regular season home attendance in MLB for a third consecutive season.
Oct. 22, 2017: Several Tampa Bay-area politicians and columnists have suggested residents won't have to pay for a new stadium's public subsidies. This is nonsense. 10Investigates put together a guide as to how much each potential funding mechanism might contribute toward a new Rays stadium.
Feb. 9, 2018: The Rays announced publicly it prefers to play in Tampa over St. Petersburg. Sternberg announced the Rays want to move to Ybor City.
April 22, 2018: With months to figure out funding on a Rays stadium, Hillsborough County still has an extremely long way to go, according to recent comments made by county administrator Mike Merrill to the Tampa Bay Times.
July 9, 2018: If Hillsborough County's elected leaders and developers can't find hundreds of millions of dollars to get the Tampa Bay Rays to move to Ybor City, the team may find similar revenues simply by staying put.
Mayor Rick Kriseman told 10Investigates Monday that developers and city leaders are anxious to redevelop the 86 acres on which Tropicana Field and its expansive parking lots currently sit. Per the Rays' original use agreement with St. Petersburg, the team is entitled to half of all redevelopment revenues created from that space as long as they are a tenant.
Interactive Timeline: Tap here to see 10Investigates' coverage of the Rays' stadium saga
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