Tampa Bay CEOs Say Yes To The Rays Sister City Plan

The business leaders want to see a stadium built in Ybor City.

It appears that Major League Baseball and the Tampa Bay Rays ownership has sold its sister city plan, splitting 81 home games between the Tampa Bay market and Montréal to Tampa business leaders. About 40 Tampa Bay area business leaders are in favor of the scheme as a “win-win-win” for all parties. In a letter published by the Tampa Bay Tribune, the business leaders think building a new stadium for a part time franchise is actually a good idea.

“We endorse the leadership and membership of the three prominent regional chambers who supported this Sister City Baseball plan and the construction of an open-air neighborhood ballpark in Historic Ybor City. The site would serve as home not only for the Rays during the first portion of the season, as well as for half the postseason games, but also as home of the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The new multi-use facility would be an economic development platform to host national sporting events, concerts and community gatherings, similar to the versatility of Tampa’s arena. It would also help spark development in and around Ybor like replicating what other successful urban ballparks like Fenway Park and Wrigley Field have done across the country. After many years of analysis and conversations, the time has come to prioritize a new home for our Tampa Bay Rays on terms that the current market frames,  a shared season in an intimate neighborhood venue, with the benefits of a lasting connection to Montréal and its fans who will come visit here and make Tampa Bay a destination of choice for tourism and commerce.” Selling the plan to the Major League Baseball Players Association though will be a daunting task. The players will look at the sister city scheme rather simply. The team will play three quarters of its games on the road and that is unacceptable.

Evan Weiner’s books are available at iTunes – https://books.apple.com/us/author/evan-weiner/id595575191  

Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash answers a question during a news conference before an American League Division Series baseball practice Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays play the Boston Red Sox in the bet-of-five series. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)