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TIMELINE: Tampa Bay Rays' stadium saga

How did we end up here?

Former 10News reporter Noah Pransky and former 10News journalist Mark Bergin have followed the Tampa Bay Rays' stadium saga for nearly 10 years.

Now, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman says the team's conversations to do a split-season with Montreal are over. Here's a look back at how we got here.

Most recent coverage: St. Pete Mayor: Rays can't split season with Montreal


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 land, redevelopment money, and $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 an ultimatum the Rays need permission to explore all new stadium sites around Tampa Bay, or else they won't consider any new stadium sites around Tampa Bay. At the time, the team’s contract with St. Pete prohibited it from looking outside city limits.

November 2010: Discussion about a new Rays stadium typically revolves around locations the team could play, but Noah Pransky writes the most important conversation is one being ignored: how the stadium will be paid for. Land isn't the problem in Rays' Stadium Saga; funding is

Oct. 10, 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.

January 2016: St. Petersburg finally grants the Rays permission to explore Tampa stadium sites, giving the team three years to give a final answer. Some critics in St. Pete voice concern the agreement could weaken the city's otherwise ironclad contract through 2027 with the team.

October 2017: The Rays finish a third straight season with the lowest home attendance in MLB, as several Tampa Bay-area politicians and columnists suggest a new stadium can be built without public subsidies. In response, 10Investigates put together a guide as to how those "not public subsidies" really are public subsidies.

November 2017: 10Investigates exposes how Commissioner Hagan may not be properly saving records regarding stadium negotiations. Hillsborough commissioners fail to follow own guidance on phones, public records

Feb. 9, 2018: The Rays announced publicly their selection of an Ybor City site. But the financing of a stadium remains a giant mystery, with few public or private funds available for stadium construction.

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 in St. Pete. Mayor Rick Kriseman told 10Investigates developers are anxious to redevelop the 86 acres on which Tropicana Field and its expansive parking lots currently sit, and the Rays get half the revenue as long as they are a tenant.

July 10, 2018: The Rays release renderings of their proposed $892 million Ybor City stadium. There is still no plan how to pay for it.

Oct. 1, 2018: As the Tampa Bay Rays finish another season toward the bottom of the MLB attendance rankings, 10Investigates breaks the news the team is purchasing the Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer club, as well as the team's control of Al Lang Stadium on the St. Petersburg waterfront.

Nov. 6, 2018: Election Day brought two new commissioners to Hillsborough County's board. Based on previous stadium-related comments, the new commissioners may make it harder for the Rays to secure public financing in Hillsborough.

Nov. 16, 2018: Just days after Hillsborough commissioners were told there would be no new ballpark updates until after the team's Dec. 31 deadline to inform St. Petersburg of its future, the head of a local stadium booster group says he believes a deal will get done by the end of the year. He says federal subsidies may be the biggest piece of the funding pie.

Nov. 18, 2018: 10Investigates exposed how Commissioner Ken Hagan refused to turn over public records, detailing the location of the Ybor stadium, while developer Darryl Shaw (a Hagan campaign donor) was able to benefit from the inside information. 10Investigates later confirmed Shaw is one of the major investors in the Tampa Bay Times.

Nov. 26, 2018: Developer Darryl Shaw spoke to 10Investigates after viewers expressed concern the Tampa Bay Times wasn’t sufficiently scrutinizing the Ybor City stadium negotiations, of which Shaw is the primary landowner.

Dec. 4, 2018: Hillsborough County will shift oversight of the Rays discussion over to the Tampa Sports Authority, which could raise questions about the stadium-related profits one of its board members stands to make.

Dec. 5, 2018: The Tampa Bay Rays need to give St. Petersburg notice of its future plans by Dec. 31. Hillsborough County said it would need needs three or four more months.

Dec. 11, 2018: Rays principal owner Stu Sternberg announced the MLB franchise would not be able to finalize plans to build a nearly $900 million stadium in Ybor City before the team's three-year window to find a new site expires in just weeks.

 Dec. 14, 2018: The attorney who was hired four years ago to bring the Rays, local governments, and private developers together to secure the Rays a new, long-term home in Tampa, tells 10News’ sister station in Portland he is also representing the group trying to bring baseball to Portland.

Dec. 18, 2018: The Tampa Bay Rays have notified St. Petersburg that the team is officially terminating its negotiating window with Tampa.

Dec. 27, 2018: Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Tommy Pham had harsh words on the team’s lack of fan support in a radio interview with SiriusXM on Thursday.

Pham suggested a relocation from St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field could ignite the franchise either in a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area or in a new city.

Jan. 4, 2019: The Tampa Bay Rays announced major renovations to Tropicana Field, including the closure of the upper-deck level.

The reconfiguration of the ballpark will eliminate the upper-deck 300 level and decrease Tropicana Field’s capacity to an estimated 25,000-26,000 fans.

Jan. 25, 2019: The Tampa Bay Rays announced Tropicana Field will become the first cash-free sports venue in North America

Fans will be able to use credit cards, gift cards, mobile payments or Rays cards.

Feb. 22, 2019: La Presse reported a group of investors in Quebec wants to become shareholders in the Tampa Bay Rays, which are currently owned by Stuart Sternberg. The plan calls for the Rays to split their season between Tampa Bay and Montreal.

April 4, 2019: Tampa Riverfront Sports released its idea for a new waterfront ballpark in West Tampa.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn called the proposal "dead on arrival" during the commission meeting.

June 20, 2019: MLB gave the Rays permission to explore becoming a two-city team. However, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said the Rays cannot explore playing in Montreal or any other city prior to 2027.

June 25, 2019: Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg announced his vision of the team splitting regular-season games between Tampa Bay and Montreal in 2024. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said the city wouldn't help fund a new stadium if the team splits time two cities.

June 26, 2019: Canadian businessmen Stephen Bronfman and Pierre Boivin acknowledged St. Petersburg’s mayor would have to give the Tampa Bay Rays approval to begin pursuing the possibility of splitting home games between two cities.

July 23, 2019: This date marked the first time Tampa Bay Rays management and St. Petersburg city leaders had a formal conversation since the announcement the team was considering splitting time between the Tampa Bay area and Montreal.

Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg and team president Brian Auld met with St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin.

Sternberg said he did not ask for Kriseman's permission to explore splitting the team’s home games between two cities.

Aug. 7, 2019: Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan said he believes the county should still work on bringing the Tampa Bay Rays to Tampa even if the team decides to have a split season with Montreal.

Hagan said the county is still considering the creation of an entertainment district in Ybor City.

Oct. 25, 2019: 10Investigates confirms the existence of an ongoing FBI probe into Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan, investigating whether the commissioner broke the law in leveraging his considerable influence inside the county center to benefit developers he was connected to. 

“I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about and no one from law enforcement has contacted me,” Hagan told 10News at the time.

Dec. 4, 2019: Months after the Tampa Bay Rays threw a curveball at ongoing stadium negotiations, Mayor Rick Kriseman says the team’s proposal to ‘share’ the season between St. Pete and Montreal just struck out. In a lengthy statement posted on Facebook, Kriseman says conversations about the Rays' immediate future are finished. The team can continue to explore other options for 2028 and beyond.

Interactive Timeline: Tap here to see 10Investigates' coverage of the Rays' stadium saga

Related: Trop could be more profitable for Rays than Tampa stadium if tax money doesn't come through

Previous: Rays' Wilson Ramos, Kevin Cash make AL All-Star team; Blake Snell snubbed

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