TAMPA, Fla. — An analysis conducted by the Tampa Sports Authority (TSA) shows what a potential Tampa Bay Rays stadium in Ybor City would look like, and how much it would cost.
According to the report, the current concept for the venue is an open-air facility with a parking garage that would be located near Palm Avenue and Nebraska Avenue in Ybor City. The venue would also be used for more than baseball games. TSA says the team has proposed hosting home games for the Tampa Bay Rowdies as well as concerts and similar events.
The stadium would have a total capacity of 27,096 patrons – that includes 2,500 standing-room-only spots – and cost around $799 million. If a fixed roof is added, which is considered a necessity in the Florida sun, then TSA says it would cost an additional $90 million to $180 million depending on the design.
What was not included in the report is how much the public would have to pay if the plans were approved.
TSA says the Rays would need 12 months to design the stadium and an additional 30 months to construct it.
An Ybor City stadium for the Rays has been in the talks for years. But, the question that put the plans on ice was whether the team would be in Tampa for all 81 home games, or split the season with Montreal.
That was answered last month when Major League Baseball shot down the team's "sister-city" plan. Now, the race is on for the Rays to find a new home before their lease at Tropicana Field ends in 2027.
The Rays and their St. Petersburg ballpark perennially rank near the bottom of fan attendance. According to ESPN, the team had an average of 9,513 people in seats during the 2021 season — ranking No. 28 of 30 ballparks. It was second to last during the 2018 and 2019 seasons and last in 2017.
It was during these years the Rays, which struggled early in Kevin Cash's tenure as manager, began to show improvement. The team returned to the playoffs in 2019 and advanced to the World Series for the first time in more than a decade in 2020.