Is MLB Destroying The Tampa Bay Market?    

MLB destroyed Montreal as a market. 

Is Major League Baseball sabotaging the Tampa Bay market by continuing to push a St. Petersburg-Montreal home games in two cities plan? MLB is telling Tampa Bay area business leaders your market is not good enough for us and there could be a backlash because it is corporate support and not fans that is the economic engine that fuels teams in all sports. Tampa Bay Rays owner Stu Sternburg is convinced Montreal is a good part-time market but not full-time home for his team. St. Petersburg, Florida Mayor Rick Kriseman said that the team must play every home game scheduled in St. Petersburg through the 2027 season. The planned move of Rays’ summer home games to Montreal beginning in 2024 is on hold for now. The franchise is now scheduled to play out the last eight years of a 30-year lease in St. Petersburg. Major League Baseball wants to get back into the Montreal market. Sternberg is convinced that Montreal is a good part-time market despite the fact that the Canadian dollar has been hanging around 76 cents US for quite a while. MLB does business in American greenbacks.

Sternberg had an opportunity to change the terms of the St. Petersburg lease had he secured funding for a baseball park in Tampa. In 2018, Rays’ owners had plans to build a park in Ybor City. That fell through. What happens next is anybody’s guess other than the Rays will be financially challenged. Tampa Bay’s business community could have second thoughts about supporting the franchise whose owners are not convinced Tampa Bay is a good market. If the corporate community walks away, that would destroy the Rays business. MLB’s might be hoping its split home games threat will result in a getting stadium plan approved somewhere in the Tampa Bay market.

(AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)